The Mercer University professor of economics said he finds it interesting that, although the economy has technically been in recovery for several years, the biggest question he gets asked is when will the recovery come and when will things begin to feel normal again.
During his annual State of the Economy address to the Henry Council for Quality Growth, Tutterow said the economy doesn’t feel normal yet because the recovery has been slow, drawn out and unlike any other in the past.
“Most post World War II recessions are followed by recoveries in which we have a surge of 4 to 6 percent growth” in gross domestic product, he said. “Typically that surge lasts two to five quarters. So far, we’ve yet to see that.”
In 2010, consumer confidence began to rise and spending with it, but in the fall of last year that confidence plummeted as the nation questioned raising the debt ceiling, which would have caused it to default on loans.
“[Consumers] lost confidence … in America to get their fiscal houses in order,” Tutterow said.
This October’s consumer report shows that confidence has risen again, however.
The nation — and Henry County, especially — was affected by the grinding halt to new house construction, and Tutterow said construction is beginning to rise again, but it will never be what it once was.
He said multi-family housing is gaining popularity, as many foreclosed upon residents turn to rentals, and as college graduates fail to enter to work force due to a lack of jobs.
Still, Tutterow said home prices have been rising and will continue to rise, which will help ease the financial crunch counties and municipalities have been facing for the past several years.
He said three to four more years of struggling is a reasonable forecast.
As far as unemployment, Tutterow said he would like to think the rate — which currently stands at just under 8 percent nationwide — will gradually decline.
“At the end of the day, some people forget, businesses don’t hire people because they want to. They hire because they need to.”
He said until there is 2 to 2.5 percent growth in the economy from quarter to quarter, unemployment won’t see any significant decreases.
And it’s not until unemployment reaches 6 to 6.5 percent that things will feel “normal” again, he said.