Monday's guest on the “Mornings unPHILtered” show was Edward H. Sibbald, the interim director of the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development in Georgia Southern University's College of Business Administration (COBA).
Sibbald came on the show to talk about the recently completed "Spring Consumer Confidence Survey," which is being written for the very first time by GSU's Economic Development Bureau.
Each year GSU undertakes a “Holiday Survey” in the fall to gauge what consumer spending during the Christmas holidays might be like.
The spring study was undertaken to see if tangible evidence exists that there is an economic recovery.
Five hundred and sixty-seven people were polled from a sample of 3,000 households state-wide, to discover consumer confidence levels. Several key points became obvious, Sibbald told host Phil Boyum.
They were that first, the average household is ambivalent over the future, with some degree of optimism being seen. In addition, Sibbald said that people were more positive about their own situations than that of the nation.
They believe their income will remain the same, with two-thirds believing the cost of living will increase. The two items that people see rising steadily are gasoline expenses and the costs of health care premiums.
In addition, people fear having to pay more or higher fees for services. Sibbald said many economists say there is a national recovery beginning, but note that the people are psychologically still living in a recession.
During the last major recession of 1982 through 1983, there was a fairly quick rebound, but during the more modest recessions in the 90s it took as much as 45 months for things to rebound.
Discussing the prospects of a better job climate, Sibbald said those polled were split three ways: one third felt there would be fewer, one third thought there would be more, while third thought the numbers of jobs available would remain the same.
Eighty-two percent of people indicated satisfaction with their jobs. Boyum asked if that was because the grumpy ones had been let go. Sibbald responded that it was possible that many people with jobs were simply happy to have a job at all.
According to the poll results, while most people believe there is a slight improvement in the economic situation, Sibbald stated that almost everyone indicated they were going to be very careful with their finances for the foreseeable future.
Eighty percent of the people polled believe they are saving the same amount of money or even less than last year. Sibbald said that fewer people are responding to the incentives to become new home buyers than they did when first offended last fall.
Sibbald, saying Georgia's population growth is declining, revealed that many people who would come to Georgia are unable to sell their homes in other states because the situation is much worse there than it is in Georgia.
“Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com