Georgia business leaders’ confidence levels are still strong, according to the 2018 third-quarter (Q3) survey results by Georgia CEO, a news source that shares the state’s most important features, videos and newswires with Georgia’s top business leaders.
The purpose of the survey is to understand how general business conditions impact and influence Georgia CEO subscribers on a quarterly basis. The survey asks participants to reflect on the business conditions of the current quarter (Q3), while looking forward to the next quarter (Q4), with their expectations for business conditions. The news outlet partners with Georgia Southern University Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER) to prepare, distribute and analyze the survey.
In Q3 of 2018, survey participant’s views of business volume and sales were slightly below 50 percent. These views were most commonly influenced by increasing demand, government policy or changing levels of competition. Participants noted it was more difficult to find qualified employees in the labor market. This could pose a challenge for future growth at some firms.
“At this point of the business cycle, it is normal to find that some firms are having trouble finding employees,” said Ben McKay, CBAER assistant director.
When asked about general business conditions for Q4, 46 percent of respondents see conditions improving, while 44 percent believe conditions will remain the same. Overall, optimism about the future remains strong despite general business confidence slowing going into the fourth quarter.
A convenience sampling technique was used for this study, and the questionnaires were emailed to subscribers of each of the 12 Georgia CEO daily newsletters. Georgia CEO publishes newsletters in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Middle Georgia, Newnan, Rome, Savannah, Tifton and Valdosta. The survey was open from Oct. 2 to 26, with 158 valid responses recorded.
Georgia Southern University’s latest Economic Monitor, which analyzes Q2 2018 data and identifies trends affecting the regional economy, reports that Savannah’s three-county metro economy shows tourism growth leading the way, while retail sales, port activity and overall employment also contributed to area growth.
“Continued strength in the labor market lifted the index while the housing market mostly moved sideways during the quarter,” stated Michael Toma, Ph.D., Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER). “Overall, expansion in the regional economy continued at an above-average pace. However, expect slowing growth through the remainder of 2018.”
During the second quarter of 2018, the Savannah metro economy expanded at a rate of 1 percent, or 3.9 percent annualized. Approximately half of the lift in the index was provided by the tourism sector, a notable rebound from weather-related declines of about 3 percent in the winter quarter. Retail sales increased 6 percent, and port activity maintained year-over-year growth of 6.3 percent. Electricity sales remained flat, and consumer confidence in the south Atlantic states declined 4 percent, erasing the improvement in consumer sentiment during the first quarter.
Overall, area economic growth increased slightly in the second quarter, however, there is emerging softness in regional employment growth as well as other indicators of workforce utilization, including shortening workweeks and falling hourly pay. Throughout the rest of the year, the expectation is that regional economic activity will slow but remain positive.
Highlights from the latest Economic Monitor include:
Tourism contributed largely to the lift in the Savannah Metro Business Index during the second quarter. Seasonal and inflation-adjusted hotel room rentals increased 8.2 percent, while airport traffic increased 11 percent.
Total employment reported in Savannah’s metro area was 179,800, up slightly less than 1 percent as compared to year-ago data. This extends the period of slowing employment growth dating back to 2015. Early data from the third quarter suggests continued sluggishness in employment growth.
Manufacturing is at a three-year high, adding 200 workers to stand at 17,700. Construction employment remained steady at 7,500, and local government employment fell by 300 workers. The leisure and hospitality industry employs 26,000 workers.
Regional employment increased by 900 jobs during the quarter; however, the data reported for the individual sectors of the economy, when taken together, suggests a loss in employment of about the same magnitude. The total and sector-level data have been generally moving together but trends in individual sectors have become more difficult to identify in quarter-to-quarter data.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell nearly 5 percent from the previous quarter. The number of claims remains about 10 percent below the amount normally expected given the size of the workforce and historical layoff rates. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4 percent in the previous quarter to 3.6 percent this quarter.
Seasonally adjusted building permit issuance for single-family homes fell 4.7 percent, consistent with the nationwide quarterly softness in the housing market.
Building permits issued for single-family homes fell from 522 in the first quarter to 513 in the second quarter. The average valuation of building permits for single-family homes dropped 0.7 percent, from $221,000 to $219,000.
ECONOMIC INDEX/FORECASTING INDEX
The forecasting index increased 1.3 percent, or 5.3 percent, annualized, which represents a decline from the nearly 10 percent annualized growth rate of the previous quarter. The forecasting index increased on the strength of the U.S. leading index and relatively few layoffs in the regional labor market.
The Economic Monitor presents quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The quarterly report measures the heartbeat of the local economy, based on the analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the City of Savannah, Georgia Power and the three counties in the MSA — Chatham, Bryan and Effingham.
The report is available for free by email. To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBAER, a part of the Business Innovation Group in Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business, meets the applied research needs of Savannah’s business and community organizations. Areas of concentrated research include regional economic forecasting, economic impact analysis, economic development and business expansion, tourism development, survey-based research and specialty reports on topics of state, regional and local interest.
The Georgia Southern University Foundation, Inc. received a $5 million gift, the single largest gift in University history, for the College of Business from Greg Parker, president, founder and CEO of The Parker Companies in Savannah. The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved the name of the Gregory M. Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University.
Parker is known for his commitment to technology, innovation and charitable giving. The new name ties the College to a successful entrepreneur and to a powerful brand that is associated with high-quality service and products.
“At Georgia Southern, we’re focused on student success and meeting the workforce needs of our region and the state,” says Georgia Southern University President Shelley C. Nickel. “This bold investment in our students will increase that effort and provide even greater opportunity for the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
“This $5 million gift signifies a new partnership between The Parker Companies and the College. It will enhance the quality of teaching and learning and scholarly activities while raising the profile of the Parker College of Business and Georgia Southern University across the region, state and nation,” adds Allen C. Amason, Ph.D., dean of the College. “This partnership is a significant step forward in preparing more highly qualified students for the workforce.”
With a diverse student population that is representative of Georgia’s population, the new funding will establish the Parker Business Scholars Program, Parker Business Scholarship Fund and Parker Faculty Support Fund, allowing Georgia Southern students to excel in the areas of professional development and scholarship. In addition, faculty research remains at the forefront of the College’s dedication to current trends in business and teaching.
“By making this gift to the College of Business at Georgia Southern University, I hope to make a lasting impact on the business community in coastal Georgia,” states Parker. “I truly believe in education’s power to transform lives and have a strong commitment to giving back to the community.”
The Parker Business Scholarship Program (PBSP) will provide personalized professional development and educational enrichment opportunities to a select group of students in the Parker College of Business. Implementation of the PBSP will begin in fall 2019 and include specialized coursework, unique professional development opportunities and other experiential learning activities. The Parker Companies, along with the dean of the College, will have direct involvement with the PBSP students.
The Parker Business Scholarship Fund will enable recruitment and retention of greater numbers of the best and brightest students and will attract students with the potential for competitive offers from other universities, making the Parker College of Business a destination of first choice for students across the state and region.
The Parker Faculty Support Fund will support faculty members and their research. Research is essential to the academic reputation of the College, to the scholarly currency and prestige of the faculty, and to the overall value proposition of the College as a leading academic institution.
Parker’s is strategically redefining America’s convenience store industry, offering customers high-quality products, freshly prepared food and superior customer service at 54 retail stores throughout southeast Georgia and South Carolina. Headquartered in Savannah, Ga., Parker’s has a commitment to exceeding customer expectations and has repeatedly been recognized as one of the nation’s leading convenience store companies. Food service is a specialty, featuring Parker’s Kitchen favorites like hand-breaded Southern Fried Chicken Tenders, tender bone-in chicken, made-from-scratch mac ‘n’ cheese, a breakfast bar and daily specials. The company’s popular PumpPal loyalty program, which includes more than 150,000 members, has saved Parker’s customers more than $10 million to date.
Parker’s also gives back to every community where stores are located through the Fueling the Community Program, which donates a portion of the profit of every gallon of gas sold on the first Wednesday of the month to area schools. In addition, the company endows the Parker’s Emergency and Trauma Center at Memorial Hospital in Savannah, and spearheads an Anti-Litter Campaign in Savannah. For more information about Parker’s, visit Parkersav.com.
About Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.
A round of mock interviews with local high schoolers helped Georgia Southern University accounting students from the Parker College of Business put into practice concepts they learned in their forensic interview and interrogations class.
The accounting seniors conducted interviews with students at Southeast Bulloch High School in Brooklet, Georgia, based on applications and résumés the high school students created in the career development section of their English class.
Southeast Bulloch students were evaluated on their résumé and applications, appearance, confidence, comfort, attitude, expressiveness, and oral communication skills. Some examples of jobs the students interviewed for were welder, receptionist at a hospital and fast food manager, among others.
For the accounting students, this exercise was challenging. In their forensic interviews class they learn about verbal and nonverbal cues, preparing interview memoranda, and obtaining and preparing legally-admissible admission statements, but most had never been in the interviewer’s seat before. They must also learn how to convince the interviewee to open up by gaining their trust and understanding their background.
“Being able to converse with the students and get them to open up to a complete stranger so that we could get to know them was the real learning opportunity,” said Victoria Liggett, a senior accounting student. “This exercise was a good experience because it taught us how to handle sometimes awkward conversations and how to keep a conversation going when people don’t want to talk.”
While the high school students were not aware of the goals of this exercise for the accounting students, the mock interviews allowed for genuine and unbiased answers.
“By observing nonverbal behavior, I could tell when a student was not answering honestly, or when the student was simply answering with short answers that didn’t give any real information,” said Liggett.
For more than 10 years, the forensic interview and interrogations class taught by Don Berecz, director of the Center for Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business, has visited Southeast Bulloch High School to conduct mock interviews. Senior accounting students apply the concepts learned in the classroom and put them into practice, while also helping high school seniors become more comfortable with the interview process and interviewing in general.
This experiential learning activity recently expanded to include Statesboro High School and will expand to Portal High School in spring 2019.
“It’s obviously a win-win for everyone involved,” said Berecz. “We’ve gone full circle and have had at least one high school student who was interviewed end up in our course and go back to the high school to be the interviewer.”