Low wages to blame for higher unemployment in Middle Georgia

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Unemployment in Macon-Bibb sits at 5.9%–up from last year–and it’s not because there aren’t enough job opportunities.

Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce President Mike Dyer says there are plenty of jobs available.

“A lot of growth is going unrealized in Macon-Bibb right now from existing businesses because they can’t find people.”

Many people aren’t willing to work for the amount of pay companies and firms are offering.

“A number of employees that are currently working have the opportunity to get higher paying jobs. So if a company wants to retain them, they have to increase their wages,” Dyer added.

Director for the Center of Economic Analysis at Middle Georgia State University Greg George says increasing wages could potentially slow hiring down even more.

“We do want to keep an eye out on wages. We’re concerned that there could be an increase in upward wage pressures, and that could squeeze out profits of firms.”

But George says a thriving economy, a likely future for Middle Georgia over the next year, is the solution.

“As the economy grows we hope that that will induce firms to actually go out and start paying more for workers and hiring workers,” he continued.

That’s why Dyer says the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce is monitoring which industries have shortages of jobs.

“We’re working with our colleges and universities to try and close those gaps. We want to find out what kind of new degree programs we have out there,” said Dyer.

Despite the issue of hiring, Dyer says with more large companies investing, Middle Georgians can still expect to see a strengthening economy.

Categories: Bibb County, Georgia News, Local News, WMGT

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