MACON – Area businesses experienced a difficult 2020 but are expecting a much better 2021, according to the results of Mercer University’s 2020 Middle Georgia Economic Outlook Survey, released today.

The survey was conducted by the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty (CSEL) in Mercer’s Stetson-Hatcher School of Business.

The CSEL received responses to its electronic survey from 96 individuals. Dr. Antonio Saravia, associate professor of economics and director of the Center, compiled the results, which can be viewed by clicking here.

“2020 was a difficult year for most businesses in Middle Georgia. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns and restrictions produced a severe economic recession at national and local levels. Most of the financial and operational indices calculated based on answers to the survey were negative for 2020,” said Dr. Saravia. “Importantly, however, businesses in Middle Georgia were generally optimistic about the prospects for 2021. The availability of vaccines at the time of distributing the survey is likely to have played an important role in generating this favorable outlook.”

Respondents represented considerable variety in terms of company size, geography and industry. Most were small businesses under 101 employees, which accounted for 94% of the total number of respondents. The majority had principal offices located in Bibb (36%), Houston (32%) and Baldwin (14%) counties. Respondents represented a wide range of industries, led by retail trade (15%) and health care and social services (15%).

The Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty conducts the survey and publishes its results each year. For more information, contact Dr. Saravia at (478) 301-5541 or

About the School of Business

Established in 1984, Mercer’s School of Business is named for Eugene W. Stetson, a 1901 Mercer graduate and business pioneer who leveraged the first major buyout in corporate history, and his grandson Robert F. (Bob) Hatcher, a Macon businessman, longtime supporter, trustee and former board chair for the University. 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 in order to develop innovative leaders who are 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 and Online BBA, Full-Time (Day) MBA, Evening MBA, Online MBA, Master of Accountancy, M.S. in Business Analytics), Macon (Traditional BBA, Evening MBA, Health Care MBA, and Innovation MBA), Henry County (Evening BBA). For more information, visit