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Coweta fares well in regional economic study

A report by the University of West Georgia, the “West Georgia Regional Outlook 2011,” shows County in substantially better economic shape, both now and in the near-term future, than most of its regional neighbors.

The Nov. 1 report was authored by The Center for Business and Economic Research and the Dept. of Economics at the Richards College of Business at the University of West Georgia.

The “West Georgia Regional Outlook 2011” reviewed the current economic realities in the west Georgia region that includes Coweta, Carroll, Douglas, Haralson and Paulding counties.

Specific to Coweta County, the report centered on economic trends along with recent and future developments.

Economic trends included a look at population, per capita income, Coweta’s total personal income, employment, unemployment and housing.

The population picture showed that Coweta’s population grew by 2 percent between 2009-2010. That compared to a 1 percent growth statewide during the same period. Spread out over time, Coweta grew by 42.7 percent between 2000 and 2010, equating to the ninth fastest growth rate in Georgia.

In per capita income Coweta in 2009 ranked 29th out of Georgia’s 159 counties with a personal income of $31,685. Coweta’s per capita income was 93 percent of the state average and 80 percent of the national average.

Coweta’s total personal income (TPI) in 2009 was $4 billion, which ranked 18th in the state and accounted for 1.2 percent of the state total.

Employment in Coweta County during the 2000-2010 decade increased by 2,845 jobs, a 10.6 percent gain. Meantime, local government, coming mainly from the Coweta County School System, increased by 18.2 percent and reflected the county’s significant increase in population, including that of school-age children.

The county’s job growth for the first quarter of 2011 was up 3.3 percent over the same period in 2010. The state average for the first quarter of 2011 was 1.1 percent.

The unemployment numbers in Coweta in August stood at 10.1 percent. That figure was higher than the 9.5 percent rate one year ago but below the state average of 10.4 percent.

So far in 2011 initial unemployment claims have declined by nearly 12 percent compared to the first eight months of 2010.

And in housing, Coweta saw more than 2,000 single-family housing units permitted up to 2005. Those numbers declined significantly with the recession. There were 314 permits in 2009, 416 in 2010 and 184 from the January-August period.

So what does the report say about recent and future developments in Coweta County?

It turns out that Coweta is the only county in the West Georgia region to have added jobs between the first quarter of 2010 and 2011. That employment increased by 3.3 percent, or 937 jobs, during the period. Consequently, the job figures translate into Coweta having the lowest unemployment numbers in the region, the report said.

Relating to the figures are the positive economic developments in Coweta that include the construction on Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Poplar Road, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital at Ashley Park, the expansion at Yamaha Motors and the expansion at the Chromalloy plant.

The 136-bed Piedmont Newnan Hospital is expected to open next spring. At $165 million, it is the second largest hospital project currently underway in metro Atlanta. And next door to the hospital, a 110,000 square-foot medical office building will be opening in early 2012.

Meantime, the $55 million Cancer Treatment Center of America hospital is expected to open in September 2012, adding 500 new jobs over the next five years and bringing a $500 million economic impact over the first five years of operation.

The report also noted that Coweta has benefitted from the expansion of NCR and the new Sany facility, both in neighboring Peachtree City, the new Korea-based auto parts plant in Meriwether County and the success of the Kia plant in West Point.

Adding to the positive news was Coweta’s being named recently by Bloomberg Business Week as a “Best Affordable Place,” the only Georgia county to receive that recognition.

Also accentuating the economic outlook is the Fischer Crossing development on Ga. Highway 34 near the Fayette County line and the Merchant’s Crossing commercial development.

The report noted that the weak economy has affected the banking and construction sectors in Coweta.

Overall bank deposits in the county dropped from $1.32 billion in June 2010 to $1.24 billion in June 2011. The county’s largest bank is BB&T, followed by Synovus, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Charter Bank.

Employment in the construction sector saw jobs fall from 1,144 in the first quarter of 2010 to 1,067 in the first quarter of 2011, a 6.7 percent decrease, the report said.

And in home sales, the median price in Newnan from June-August was $105,000. That figure represents a 7.6 percent decrease from the same period in 2010. Also during the period home sales decreased by 23.5 percent.

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