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Modest Growth Expected For Georgia In 2013, But National Fears Loom

Atlanta, Georgia

by Kristen Cloud/staff writer

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal reported in early December that the state is doing OK. His office’s highest priority continues to involve bringing new industry to the state in order to create jobs. The Peach State’s unemployment remains high, at 8.5 percent, above the national rate of 7.7 percent.

“As of mid-2012, Georgia had replaced only 115,000—34 percent—of the 341,000 jobs lost to the recession; the nation had replaced 46 percent of its lost jobs,” Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, writes in the December edition of Georgia Trend magazine. “In 2013, some 53,000 jobs should be added, but recovery of the jobs Georgia lost will not occur before mid-2016.”

Humphreys predicts that 2013 growth will be modest for Georgia and the “risk of anther recession will be elevated—by 30 percent.” However, that risk is not exclusive to Georgia since the “primary risks that might trigger a new recession are external to the state.”

Humphreys adds, “Even if a recession is avoided, there will be powerful negative forces. Government spending and employment will decline sharply; the nastiest declines at the federal level have yet to occur. Still-tight credit standards plus lingering uncertainty in the financial markets will restrain growth in business spending. The tumult in the EU will continue, and uncertainty regarding the federal fiscal policy, federal taxes, the costs of healthcare reform and new federal regulations will continue to weigh on job growth in Georgia and the U.S.”

Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA) President Kathy Kuzava shares those sentiments.

“Business owners are fearful about increased taxes and additional onerous regulations under the current administration,” she writes in the GFIA’s November “ExpressLine” newsletter. “I know that retailers are very concerned about the uncertainty regarding healthcare and additional regulatory costs under another Obama administration.”

While the outlook isn’t bright, according to most, there will be some job growth—particularly in professional and business services as well as hospitality and manufacturing, according to Humphreys.

Eat at Home Georgia initiative, mom blog promote healthy and balanced lifestyle

Jacqueline Newman
Jacqueline Newman

Jacqueline Newman, government affairs manager for the Georgia Food Industry Association and director of the GFIA’s Education Foundation, has taken on a personal role in the “Eat at Home Georgia” program. The web-based initiative that was launched by the foundation in 2012 was created to educate consumers on how to save money while enriching their lives and leading a healthy lifestyle. For Newman, mother to 19-month-old son Jackson, the program couldn’t have debuted at a better time.

“…my husband and I used to eat out pretty much five times a week,” Newman tells The Shelby Report. “We were spending money, we were not leading the healthiest lifestyles. So I pretty much took it on as an initiative for me so that I could set a good example for our son.”

Because of this, Newman launched her own blog, “Mom on a Mission,” to complement the Eat at Home Georgia website.

“I’ve been learning how to cook, I’ve been trying to get advice from friends and family,” she says. “…Mom on a Mission is trying to figure out a balance between working, family, social life, juggling a baby with meetings…the list goes on and on and on and it never stops. And, unfortunately in this day and age, when everything depends on efficiency, sometimes we lose some of the most important parts of life, which is sitting down and eating with family and taking the time to be active with your child—which is another part of it. I took this as an opportunity to challenge myself to make sure my son had a good example set for him.”

The blog is interactive, too. Newman often poses questions to her readers. For example, in a Dec. 18 blog posting titled, “The Toddler Tyrant,” she discusses the “special age” between 18 and 24 months.

“This is the unique time where the unassuming, adorable and well-mannered toddler turns into a tyrant,” the Atlanta resident writes.

Eat at Home Ga“To all of the parents that I have glared at with disdain over the years for not being able to control their children, to my sister who I acted like I didn’t know when my niece was lying/screaming on the floor at IKEA and lastly to my own parents—I’m sorry! The old saying holds true, ‘one day you will understand.’ Now that I am here, I have to say…I understand. The million dollar question of the day? What other ages do I have to look forward to?”

Newman has posted about two dozen blog entries so far and hopes to write more in 2013. There’s also additional plans in the works for Eat at Home Georgia, including the formation of new partnerships—like one beginning in January with Operation Boot Camp. The new year also may bring Eat at Home Georgia a chef, according to Newman, noting that the initiative is a “win-win-win” for the industry and community.

“It’s a win because it educates consumers, it’s a win because hopefully it will bring up grocery business, thus

helping retailers and suppliers, and it’s also a win for our suppliers, again, because they get to advertise and support an Education Foundation that benefits the entire industry.

“All of the proceeds we get from Eat at Home Georgia go directly back to the foundation, so that helps fund our retailer informational seminars and it helps allocate scholarships to students interested in the industry,” Newman adds.

In addition to touting the benefits of eating at home, Eat at Home Georgia’s goal is to bring the industry and the consumer information in a single, consolidated place.

“…You can get food safety information, you can get coupon information, you can get some new ideas,” Newman says.

“If you really look into the benefits, just from a consumer standpoint, of eating at home, it’s not a surprise that obviously kids make better grades, the family dynamic is better, it gives people a chance to come together at night, it opens lines of communication,” she says. “I would encourage everybody to try and challenge themselves to eat at home so we can continue to have good family relationships.”

To learn more about Eat at Home Georgia, visit eatathomegeorgia.com. Newman’s Mom on a Mission blog also can be found there.

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