White County’s economic outlook looking good for 2019

Posted By | December 31, 2018 9:33 am

According to a recent report released by the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Growth at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, on the heels of very strong growth, in 2018, experts project that Tennessee and the U.S. will see sustained economic growth, in 2019, with the potential that growth could slow as the economy confronts tightening labor markets and rising interest rates.

Over the past year, White County has seen an upward movement in economic growth. According to White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson, this is expected to remain the same throughout 2019. Robinson stated the county will continue to work toward attracting new businesses, especially new retail businesses.

“We are going to continue to work on the economic development, which is kind of a broad term, but there are some things happening that I can’t get specific on,” said Robinson. “We do have a couple of projects hovering, and we are just trying to get some of them to land. Retail is a big concern for me. I get calls saying how White County needs bigger restaurants and other places to shop.”

Robinson stated he likes the “mom and pop” businesses because they make the county more friendly, and it keeps the tax dollars local. He also said some of the retail establishments would be preferred if they were chain stores. He based this information on the feedback he is getting from his constituents who say they want to be able to buy the same things in White County that they can purchase if they went to a bigger town such as Cookeville.

Going into 2019, Robinson said his office will continue doing what they have been doing, which is keeping existing businesses in good health and making sure White County residents have jobs.

“I want to emphasize that our first priority is helping and assisting our existing businesses,” said Robinson. “It is a lot easier to keep a business than it is to find a new one.”

Of course, White County’s economic health is a result of what happens within the state. According to the Boyd Center study, Tennessee should see non-farm jobs grow by 1.4 percent in 2019, slightly slower than the 1.8 percent pace of job growth in 2018. This means nearly 43,000 new jobs for Tennesseans, in 2019. The state’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product should rise 2.6 percent next year. Tennessee’s expected economic growth will largely mirror growth in the national economy.

“Historically, low unemployment rates and increases in both job growth and per capita personal income are all indicators that prove how well Tennessee’s economy performed in 2018,” said Bob Rolfe, commissioner of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “We appreciate the work done by the Boyd Center as their report forecasts trends we can expect to see not only in Tennessee but across the country for the upcoming year.”

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