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WATCH: New development in Valdosta despite economic forecast

South Georgia business leaders share the economic forecast
Posted at 6:37 PM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-30 19:10:54-05
  • South Georgia economic experts predict an economic slowdown in the area.
  • At the same time, new developments are moving forward in Valdosta.
  • Watch the video to see what could be in store for people living and working in the area.


Business in South Georgia could be looking at an economic slowdown.

"What we need to do from my view is to adopt to the new times, the new way of living I call it."

I’m Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta, and I’m checking in with local businesses on how they’re coping.

"It's not a job; it's a passion.

Alberto Sanchez has been running Empanadas and More with his family for the last 10 years.

He tells me that it's his pride and joy.

"We enjoy what we do."

While he plans to keep it running for his family's generations to come, he also tells me the last year has been the most challenging to him.

"Last year was the most hardest in 10 years, even harder than the COVID year, because of the situation with inflation."

Inflation has been hitting businesses especially hard in the last year, with it reaching a high of 8% in Georgia last September.

Cynthia Tori, economic professor at Valdosta State, said inflation will be a problem for the foreseeable future.

Agriculture is the #1 industry for the region.

However, wage rates for immigrant workers are outpacing inflation and cutting into profit margins.

Things aren't all bad though.

"Georgia is very well positioned maybe in comparison to some of the other places in the united states."

Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce president Christie Moore is optimistic for the future.

"We have such a resilient labor force and some of the other economic factors that have impacted other places haven't impacted us."

Valdosta is seeing development in the agriculture, industrial, and retail industries, with the Walmart Dairy Plant projected to bring in 400 jobs.

Alberto is also optimistic for the future of his business.

"We gonna do good for sure, but the only thing that I always tell people is 'Go back to work'. We just need to go and work harder."

Presentations from the University of Georgia indicate that there’s a 35% chance the state as a whole will go through a recession. In Valdosta, I’m Malia Thomas, ABC27.