Noticing an uptick in the economy?

Are you noticing more signs of economic life?

This week we learned that Georgia’s unemployment rate fell to 10 percent in March from 10.2 percent in February.

A new survey from the National Association for Business Economics showed that more companies reported sales gains in the first quarter than at any time since 1994, Bloomberg News reported. Sixty-three percent of businesses reported an increase in sales in the past three months, while fewer companies reported a drop in revenue, the survey said.

And in Cobb County, commissioners approved a mix of commercial and residential development projects on Tuesday, providing more signs of economic recovery, AJC reporter Janel Davis writes.

A new subdivision in east Cobb, a 170-unit suite hotel along Cumberland Boulevard and even a large gas station and convenience store along Windy Hill Road were all given the go-ahead, Davis reports. Incremental developments like these signal a slow economic revitalization, industry experts said.

Are you seeing that in your area?

Or are rising gas prices, persistent foreclosures and double-digit unemployment still combining to keep a lid on things?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

26 comments Add your comment

nativeson71

April 20th, 2011
8:26 am

What is the status on Belmont Hill and Jonquil Village on Atlanta Rd in Smyrna. Really – two blighted construction zones – how long does a temporary chainlink fence, surounding the sites, supposed to last?

nativeson71

April 20th, 2011
8:26 am

What is the status on Belmont Hill and Jonquil Village on Atlanta Rd in Smyrna. Really – two blighted construction zones – how long does a temporary chainlink fence, surounding the sites, supposed to last?

Belinda

April 20th, 2011
8:38 am

My daughter, who is a student, has a job at Stone Mountain Park that will give her full-time hours this summer. She was unable to find a job last year. My son will be graduating from Gwinnett Tech in June. He has a paid internship at a resaurant in Decatur which will continue as a regular job. He is already getting more hours than he was promised initially. I see work on new subdivisions in my area. A large QT is opening Friday within 2 miles of my home. Foreclosures in my neighborhood are way down and many of them have sold and are now owner-occupied. Things are looking up slowly.

glass 1/2 full

April 20th, 2011
9:02 am

The Snellville / Scenic Hwy 124 shopping district is seeing lots of new business. The former HD Landscape and an old Lincoln dealership are making way for an Academy Sports and Olive Garden. Former Circuit City location is being revamped for a Buy Buy Baby superstore. Former corporately owned Fuddruckers that was shuttered is being raved for a McDonalds. Many longtime business are remodeling the exteriors and interiors.

Foreclosed homes are selling for rock bottom prices. The only bad thing I see is that a foreclsure that sold just 2 years ago is in foreclsure yet again with the new owner. People that are inding deals in houses they could never afford is not always a good thing. If you could not afford the house / neighborhood in the bubble, then it is probably not the house for you.

Folks should always remember what the past few years have looked like. Just because it did not happen to you this go around does not mean your day is not just around the corner!

Be prepared for anything.

TnGelding

April 20th, 2011
9:06 am

I haven’t noticed it but all indications are we’re on the verge of a huge uptick in the economy. And manufacturing appears to be leading the way. Now if the GOP will just acknowledge that the recession has been over for 2 years and the economy is adding private sector jobs while shedding public sector ones (something you’d think they would cheer) maybe some of the gloom and doom will disappear and the sun can shine in.

Shadow7071

April 20th, 2011
9:11 am

I think the economy is still on life support. We’re seeing some improvements but now there is the potential of a major setback due to the rapidly rising price of gasoline (and the volatility in the mideast). My work is picking up but my work is to help organizations reduce and control cost and be more efficient. The want to “do more with less” is always part of the conversation and that usually translates into reducing labor costs. So I still see some volatility in the labor market.

Statistics are funny things and the decrease in unemployment to 10 percent may indicate more people working or it could be the result of people being dropped from the system and no longer counted. And we have to also consider the other employment statistic – i.e., combined unemployed and underemployed – and that number is around 17 to 18 percent. So, there may be more people working but they may be underemployed based on their skills, knowledge, experience and education.

Which brings me to this point, McDonald’s hiring thousands of people is a big story. It wasn’t too long ago that fast food jobs were considered the bottom tier on the employment ladder. These jobs were the entry point into the labor force. Now, these jobs are big news. What does this say about our economy?

RP

April 20th, 2011
9:29 am

For all the favorable economy comments here. Everything was fine and rosy back before the collapse, wasn’t it? You are missing the bigger picture. Gas has gone up $0.80 in the past 3 months adding about $100/ month to the average household. Metals and grain commodities are at or near all time highs. Consumers have yet to see the additional inflation effects of the higher gas prices because food manufacturers are resisting raising prices so far, but will be inevitable by summer. Foreclosures are still way up. When the economy does pick up, demand goes up, and prices will go up further. We all want to believe things are getting better, but please face reality because until this country can get its debt, its entitlements, its spending, its subsidies, and its tax structure straightened out, we are in for some more bumpy road ahead of us.

RP

April 20th, 2011
9:35 am

Good point Shadow about McDonalds. Also note that McDonalds is mostly hiring 50,000 people because it is converting more of its restaurants to 24 hour per day operations, so of course it takes extra personnel. They are taking the chance that the nighttime sales will offset the costs of operating at night. Also note that McDonalds received an Obamacare waiver and allowed them to free up some extra money to try this.

Shadow7071

April 20th, 2011
9:45 am

@RP – Yes, this McDonald’s story has caught my attention and it will be interesting to follow and see how it’s spun in the political and media circuits. I recall a few years ago when someone in the federal government proposed that McDonald type jobs be re-classified as “manufacturing jobs”. Their reasoning was that these jobs were “manufacturing” hamburgers. The driving force behind this recommendation was to make up for all the manufacturing jobs that were going to Mexico and China. We’ll see if someone in politics proposes something clever regarding all these new jobs.

TnGelding

April 20th, 2011
10:02 am

50,000 new workers at about $15k per year is $750 million pumped into the economy and almost as importantly another $11 million into Medicare and SS “trust funds.” Small change for sure, but every little bit helps.

Let’s not forget that McD’s teaches a good work ethic. The press they’ve gotten off of this promotion is priceless.

TnGelding

April 20th, 2011
10:04 am

Well, we’re doing our share. Came home in a new Honda Accord Monday that was made in the good ole USA!

The Economy

April 20th, 2011
10:42 am

NO, it has not picked up and it wont for another 12 -18 months. Statistics are manipulated by the Government to go along with there agenda, complete farse. Housing is still headed down, and job are not coming back. And the jobs that are out there, pay half what they were making before. This will get worse, and change the American Middle Class for good. It aint ur parents dream any more, it ur nightmare reality.

luangtom

April 20th, 2011
10:43 am

Yup, we all see the up-tick in the economy. Prices keep going up and up and up……..pay or pensions have not. Yes, quite the turn-around…….

terry

April 20th, 2011
11:49 am

How come when liberals are in charge, jobs increases at McDonalds are seen as a huge boost to the economy.
When the same thing happened with others in the White House any new job increases at McDonalds were poo-poo’d as just a bunch of burger flippers that weren’t “real” jobs.

TnGelding

April 20th, 2011
1:20 pm

Nobody said it was a “huge” boost, just a small one. With summer approaching many more teens will be happy to be serving Happy Meals.

TnGelding

April 20th, 2011
1:27 pm

Did anyone else notice that Obama’s mortgage interest deduction was more than half of us make? Biden sure is tight with a dime.

glass 1/2 full

April 20th, 2011
1:58 pm

“The want to “do more with less” is always part of the conversation and that usually translates into reducing labor costs. So I still see some volatility in the labor market.”

“You are missing the bigger picture. Gas has gone up $0.80 in the past 3 months adding about $100/ month to the average household. Metals and grain commodities are at or near all time highs. Consumers have yet to see the additional inflation effects of the higher gas prices because food manufacturers are resisting raising prices so far, but will be inevitable by summer. Foreclosures are still way up. When the economy does pick up, demand goes up, and prices will go up further. We all want to believe things are getting better, but please face reality because until this country can get its debt, its entitlements, its spending, its subsidies, and its tax structure straightened out, we are in for some more bumpy road ahead of us.”

Shadow & RP – agree completely with your input as well. I was just reacting to the positive, but you both are spot on with the negatives that are still out there and will be with us in the future!

glass 1/2 full

April 20th, 2011
2:00 pm

“Did anyone else notice that Obama’s mortgage interest deduction was more than half of us make? Biden sure is tight with a dime.”

I didn’t notice that ….

TnGelding

April 20th, 2011
3:21 pm

The federal government does not have to operate like a husehold or business. It can issue bonds, manage the money supply and dictate taxes. Reagan and Bush created the conditions for the deficit to explode. Obama chose to add to it to lessen the hardships of the recession. He, and everyone else, knows spending has to be reduced. About a third of this year’s deficit is due to the irresponsible tax code changes during the Bush administration. Congress knew the deficit would explode, that’s why the changes were due to expire this year. Go back and look at the debate if you don’t believe me. I’ll find it for you if you can’t. About a third is due to the recession causing reduced revenue and the remaining third due to Obama’s stimulus, which has worked no matter how many times the GOP says it hasn’t.

Now, the big question is can the economy continue to grow on its own without the stimulus and intervention by the FOMC? I would say yes, if corporate America invests the $2 trillion it’s sitting on.

As for China holding our debt and having leverage over us, it can be called in if the most wealthy among us step forward and accept responsibility for it. The rest of us can do our small part as well by buying U.S.Treasuries. I like the idea of receiving a bond instead of a check for your income tax refund.

Mass Dawg

April 20th, 2011
5:28 pm

Of course Biden is tight with his money. Liberals expect everyone else, including the government to help those in need, but never contribute any of their own money to the cause. They talk a good game but statistically conservtaives always have given more money to charity than liberals.

Liberals love to pontificate what others hsould be doing, but never follow through on their rhetoric. If they are so concerned with all of their cause why don’t they contribute their own money instead of expecting tax payers to subsidize their causes? It’s like Al Gore talking about global warming, while he takes a limo to the airport and gets on his Gulf Stream in Nashville, for a flight to the west coast. He then gets picked up in a limo and is driven to large ballroom wwhere he rails against those who contribute to global warming.

TnGelding

April 21st, 2011
12:09 am

Yeah, it’s hard to walk the walk. The house Gore bought was an old energy sucker, too, while Bush built a place with the latest energy saving technology. He had an opportunity to be the environmental president, but that wasn’t part of his “conservative” personna. It’s a shame because he had a good record as Texas governor.

Obama was rather generous with his earnigs, so I don’t see how you can paint liberals with such a broad brush.

What about selling 100 million barrels of oil from the SPR and using the proceeds to send out energy rebates to the neediest among us, specifically those on unemployment, food stamps and Medicaid? We simply have to change the way we get a barrel of oil to the refinery.

Bob Walters

April 21st, 2011
1:41 am

We’re nearly at the end of the economic rally, which has been more of a stock market rally than a job market rally.

People keep saying deficit spending, QE2, bail outs, etc. didn’t work. Well the fact that we aren’t reliving 1932 says otherwise. However, we’re nearly at the end of the public sector filling in as the consumer of last resort.

Given the rate of jobs moving overseas, we’re headed into a middle class squeeze by year’s end. The rest of the world is decoupling from the US economy. Even with a stagnant economy on the horizon for the US, rising economies in the rest of the world will drive up commodity prices here. The US is 23% of GDP now. Expect it to be 15% in three years.

Given the overabundance of labor in the US, don’t expect a raise at work to help out. We’re experiencing a global rebalancing of wealth as well as a concentration of more and more US wealth at the very top. It’s gonna be a long decade for the middle class.

huh?

April 21st, 2011
8:22 am

“They talk a good game but statistically conservtaives always have given more money to charity than liberals.”

Where on your tax return is there a box to check ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’? What does that mean anyhow?? Nice try.

Carly Sanchez

April 21st, 2011
10:10 am

Engaging and well written article! This tops anything I have read lately on the subject at hand. I wonder if this’ll be posted on Twenty-First Tycoon. Although the site has awesome political, business, technology and real estate news, they could use more stuff like this. http://www.21Tycoon.com

1911A1

April 21st, 2011
5:42 pm

Man oh man, that “21Tycoon” is spamming every blog on the AJC!

Go away, loser.

jay mehta

April 25th, 2011
11:06 am

with current economic variables, I will not be surprised to see another deep recession in offing. The effect may take few months but we may see a situation of hope to despair.