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Mondays with Rick: 2022 economics in CSRA

Editor’s Note:

ABD: I know your esteemed Economics Professor Simon Medcalfe won’t be upset that you are looking into your crystal ball! What do you see as a positive for jobs moving forward?

Rick: Less people will be on the sidelines, out of work.  Last week, I participated in an economic development group. 99,000 eligible workers in our area are still taking a break from working.

Dr. Rick Franza, Dean of AU’s Hull College of Business

2021 was closer to normal than 2020 numbers, but still muted. My prediction is because of omicron—our pandemic is more of an endemic—which had reduced our success for so long.

Some things will happen naturally, like companies have such demands that they will raise wages and that will take some people off of the sidelines. I predict government and private companies will undertake more partnerships, which will make sure training is better for jobs available.

ABD: Specifically, where do you see some jobs coming from in the future?

Rick: Three industries are ripe for growth:

1. Healthcare – So many elective surgeries and procedures were canceled in 2021, and hospitals lost a lot of revenue. I predict this is the year that Piedmont’s investment in University Hospital will make a positive impact on jobs and services.

2. Cyber – I also think cyber has been muted by the pandemic in that companies that might have planned to move have held off. We have not had a true cyber boom quite yet, and I believe we’ll see more of that in 2022.

3. SRS/Plant Vogtle – There are increased missions at these important employers’ facilities, with jobs being added in 2022 and perhaps the next decade.

Our hospitality revenues have not been good, but as cyber picks up, medicine picks up and SRS picks up, this will support many parts of economy with service industries like hospitalities and restaurants.

ABD: You got your PhD in Operations and Supply Chain Management more than 25 years ago at Georgia Tech. As much as Covid hurt job growth, the effects of the pandemic hurt supply and demand. Do you see that balancing out?

Rick: Our supply chain issue will be significantly reduced. During the heat of the pandemic, there was a lack of labor, which caused trucking and shipping issues. There was a mismatch of demand vs. supply. Companies expected demand of products to go down and it didn’t. When it didn’t, they had reduced orders and then had to order.

I predict the supply chain issue will continue through first quarter and by mid-2022, we’ll be in really good shape, and by the end of the second quarter, it will be largely resolved.

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