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Coastal Empire Economic Monitor – Q1-2024 Growth

Coastal Empire Economic Monitor Q1 2024: Growth

Our favorite newsletter, the Coastal Empire Economic Newsletter, just dropped its 2024 Q1 issue and the research indicates strong growth across the Savannah metropolitan region.

  1. Electricity Sales: Electricity sales are up, a sign of increased demand from residential, commercial, and industrial consumers.  I’m curious how much the rising temps in Q2 will influence the consumption.
  2. Airport Boardings: Boardings are up at the airport. More visitors to Savannah generally mean more money being spent in the local economy. It would be interesting to know the percentage of travelers coming for work versus personal reasons.
  3. Interest Rate Cuts: Forecasting what the federal reserve will do, let alone how the economy will behave, is extremely difficult.  So it’s little surprise that many experts were off the mark on rate cuts.  
  4. Georgia Ports Authority:  Multibillion dollar investment should increase port capacity by 30% by 2025 and double by the end of the decade.  
  5. Savannah Metro Business Index: The Business Index for the Savannah metro economy increased by 1.1% in the first quarter of 2024. This index comprises seven indicators, though I’m not sure what they all are. Perhaps Professor Toma could provide some insight?
  6. Employment Growth: Total employment rose to 206.5K. Fun fact: the private sector has expanded employment four times faster than the public sector since 2010.
  7. Logistics Sector: The logistics sector lost jobs, but I’m not too worried. Heavy investment in the Georgia ports predicts a 30% increase in capacity by 2025 and a 100% increase in the following years.
  8. Hyundai and Suppliers: Hyundai and its suppliers are aiming for a late 2024 opening, which should positively impact the local economy.
  9. Forecasting Index: The business forecasting index grew by 2.6% since last quarter. What exactly is this index? I’m not sure, but we’ll take it on as a homework assignment to figure out. 
  10. Unemployment Rate: The regional unemployment rate has been around 3% for the last three years. Unemployment claims have dropped, indicating that recently unemployed individuals are finding new jobs quickly.
  11. Housing Market: There is strong demand for multi-unit housing. The number of multifamily permits issued in the last four years matches the total for the eight years preceding 2020. Builders are pivoting to multifamily construction—will this impact single-family home starts?
  12. Single-Family Home Permits: In the housing market, the seasonally adjusted issuance of construction permits for single-family homes held steady at 673 permits. This is 11.5% higher than a year ago and 4.4% higher than six months ago. Additionally, the average building permit value for a single-family home increased by 4.9% to $251,500 from $240,000 in the previous quarter.
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