Quotes of note
“The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing… and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.” – Fred Rogers
“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” – Ronald Reagan
“Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men.” – George S. Patton
On Our Desks
Learning pod protection? This week, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s investigative journalist broke the story of two Cobb County learning pods that were ordered to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy to meet in a local church. The Institute for Justice cited our work on the Learning Pods Protection Act as it called on the Cobb County fire marshal to stop his misguided crackdown on education freedom.
Regulation roundup: Do additional county regulations drive up the price of homes? Yes, say Oconee County home builders in Christopher Butler’s latest investigative report.
Keep up: Following what many are calling “The Year of School Choice,” states from coast to coast are enacting new programs for education freedom. If Georgia doesn’t keep up, says Research Fellow J. Thomas Perdue, we risk being left behind.
Miles away: In his weekly column, Kyle Wingfield examines how Georgia Milestones results underscore the reality of pandemic learning loss.
Vino, Vidi, Vici: The Georgia winery industry is thriving despite the pandemic, reports Fresh Take Georgia. Wineries contributed $48.7 million to the state in taxes and fees in 2021, up from $40.1 million in 2017 and $42.7 million in 2019. The trade organization Georgia Wine Producers estimates that the industry supports 35,000 jobs state-wide, although most wineries are located in the northern part of the state. The Dahlonega Plateau was designated an “American Viticultural Area” in 2018.
You can’t fire me, I quit! Georgia ranked fifth among states in the number of job resignations over the past 12 months with a rate of almost 3.9%, according to the Center Square. Only Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Florida had higher rates. Last week, state officials announced that Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate reached an all-time low of 2.9%, well below the national rate of 3.6%. Jobs in the state increased by 18,100 from May to June and are now at an all-time high of 4.8 million.
Uh oh: The U.S. economy likely fell into a recession in the second quarter of 2022, with real gross domestic product declining at an annualized rate of 0.9%. This follows a first-quarter decline of 1.6%. Two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction typically signal a recession is underway. White House officials argued this week that a recession is not official until the National Bureau of Economic Research declares one. However, exceptions to the two-consecutive-quarters rule of thumb typically are made to include recessions of shorter duration, or non-consecutive quarters of contraction.
Housing & Development
Cool down: As housing prices begin to cool slightly, some metropolitan areas are faring better than others. The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index for the second quarter of 2022, which blends real estate and other economic data, indicates Georgia’s metros trail those in other states. Gainesville ranked highest in Georgia at No. 44 nationally. The Chattanooga, Tenn., metro area, which includes part of northwest Georgia, was 67th. Savannah (94th) and Athens (95th) were the only other Georgia metro areas in the top 180; Atlanta was 189th. Meanwhile, neighboring North Carolina had six metros in the top 50, Florida and Tennessee had four apiece, Alabama had two and South Carolina one. Elkhart, Ind., topped the rankings.
Back down: Amid rising interest rates and renovation costs, residential real estate investors are pulling back in the Atlanta metro marketplace, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In the first quarter of 2022, investors accounted for one-third of all the homes sold in the Atlanta metro area, and for more than 60% in some parts of the southside. Larger investment companies backing away, however, opens the market for smaller investors who were formerly priced out.
It takes a village: After months of work, the Gwinnett Place Mall Site Revitalization Team has recommended redevelopment as a “Global Villages” concept. The mall itself would be demolished and replaced with seven “villages” reflecting the cultural diversity of the area. Overall, the redevelopment would add 2,700 residential units, between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet of culturally focused restaurant retail space, about 25,000 square feet of commercial office space, green space, an international culture and community center, and a large parking deck. The concept is expected to be proposed to county commissioners around Aug. 31.
Danger zone: Atlanta is now in a “Covid Red Zone,” meaning that cases now top 200 per 100,000 people in Georgia. In response, Mayor Andre Dickens issued a mask mandate for all public meetings, and Clayton County public schools will require all staff and visitors to wear a mask.
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