BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism Releases Results of Mid-Year Middle Georgia Economic Outlook Survey


MACON – Area businesses experienced a positive first half of 2015 and are “cautiously optimistic” about the second half of the year, according to the results of Mercer University's Mid-Year Middle Georgia Economic Outlook Survey, which were released today.

The survey was conducted by the BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism in Mercer's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, in partnership with the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce, Jones County/Gray Chamber of Commerce, Perry Chamber of Commerce, Roberta-Crawford County Chamber of Commerce and Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce.

The BB&T Center and the partner chambers received responses to their electronic survey from nearly 400 individuals. Dr. Antonio Saravia, assistant professor of economics and director of the BB&T Center, compiled the results, which can be viewed by clicking here.

“The results of the survey indicate that businesses in Middle Georgia seem to have wrapped a positive first half of the year, consolidating the momentum gained during 2014, and remain cautiously optimistic about the second half of 2015,” said Dr. Saravia. 

“We qualify the optimism as cautious, because, despite the positive outlook for the economy in Middle Georgia, a large number of businesses do not identify the second half of 2015 as a good time to expand their operations. In addition, respondents continue to identify government regulations and/or red tape, taxes and the quality of labor as the top three obstacles to their business activities. Importantly, businesses have also mentioned that they have a difficult time convincing their talent to move to Macon.”

Respondents represented considerable variety in terms of company size, geography and industry. Most were small businesses under 10 employees, which accounted for 31 percent of the total number of respondents. The majority had principal offices located in Bibb (56 percent), Houston (22 percent) and Monroe (19 percent) counties. Respondents represented a very wide range of industries, led by retail trade (13 percent), professional and technical services (12 percent), health care and social assistance (12 percent) and finance and insurance (11 percent).

“Mercer's survey is providing value for the Middle Georgia business community by offering timely insights into the local business climate,” said Robert F. “Robbo” Hatcher Jr., president of H2 Capital Inc. and chair of the business school's Board of Visitors. “The results of this survey reflect that the greatest local barrier to growth continues to be workforce related – indicating a disconnect between the available labor pool and the skills needed most by local employers.”

The BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism plans to conduct the survey and publish its results two times per year. The results of the inaugural survey were released in February. 

“The BB&T Center is generating important insights into the workings of our regional economy as a service to the community,” said Dr. Susan P. Gilbert, dean of the Stetson School of Business and Economics. “We thank the chambers and our business leaders for participating in the survey and hope that the findings will impact policy.”

For more information on the survey, contact Dr. Saravia at (478) 301-5541 or

About the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics

Established in 1984, Mercer University's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history. Over the past 80 years, Mercer has granted over 12,000 business degrees, and many of its graduates hold senior leadership positions in companies around the world. Mercer's business school delivers career-focused business education programs and develops entrepreneurial leaders and responsible global citizens. It holds accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which places it among the top five percent of all top business schools worldwide. Mercer's business school has been recognized by the Princeton Review for “Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students” and “Greatest Opportunity for Women” as well as being one of its “Best Business Schools.” In addition, it has been recognized among the “Top 15 Schools in the Nation for Marketing and Accounting.” The School offers the following programs: Atlanta (Evening BBA, Full-Time (One-Year) MBA, Evening MBA, Executive MBA, Professional MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA and Evening MBA), Douglas County and Henry County (Evening BBA).

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.