AASU: Economic growth continues in 4Q 2012 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

AASU: Economic growth continues

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The Savannah area economy in the fourth quarter of 2012 continued to grow, according to the Coastal Empire Economic Monitor from Armstrong Atlantic State University.

The growth was fueled by record tourism coming into town. The index increased 2.2 percent in 2012.  

Tourism tax revenue hit an all-time high in the last quarter of 2012 with hotel and motel tax receipts totaling $1.3 million per month, that's up 11 percent from the third quarter and up 14.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, according to Coastal Empire Economic Monitor data.

"The tourism industry was responsible for much of the upward lift in the economy, otherwise boosting modest gains and offsetting lackluster activity elsewhere," said Michael Toma, director of the Center for Regional Analysis and Armstrong's Fuller E. Callaway professorial chair, in a statement. "This is further evidence that our regional economy enjoys an enviable foundation in the form of a well diversified structure that affords insulation against weakness in any given sector."  

Another positive sign of economic growth was employment. The December jobs figure hit 155,000, which was the highest level of recorded employment in the last four years, even though hiring slowed at the end of 2012, according to the index.

Effects from federal budget cuts are not as drastic as they may seem because projected they amount to an estimated 1 percent reduction in federal governmental spending, according to the index data.

The Coastal Empire Economic Monitor is a report of quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah's Metropolitan Statistical Area from Armstrong's Center for Regional Analysis.

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