According to the inflation adjusted estimates, economic output in Rome was at $2.73 billion for 2011. The figures were down 1 percent from 2010, The inflation adjusted measure is based on a comparison with 2005 dollars.
Bruce Jones, a professor of economics at Georgia Highlands College, said Rome’s low ranking among the nation’s metro areas is not something that should be considered bothersome.
“What that tells you is that our prices are lower than the average,” Jones said. “It means that the cost of living is lower for us than the average. I don’t see that as being any sort of bad indicator.”
Jones said a lower cost of living has helped the South compete for jobs with the rest of the nation.
A lower cost of living means manufacturers can afford to pay people less and that has been attractive to industry.
Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce President Al Hodge said the numbers are all the more reason for this staff to continue working to help existing companies expand and to recruit new companies to Rome.
Hodge said he expects 2012 numbers to increase, thanks in part to expansions at F&P Georgia and Neaton Rome, two of Rome’s leading automotive suppliers that have expanded in the past year. “It’s important that we continue to be aggressive in our work for starts and further diversification of our economy,” Hodge said.
When the data was not adjusted for inflation, Rome ranked 351 of the 366 MSAs with output pegged at $3.16 billion for 2011. That was the weakest off any of Georgia’s metro areas, but was slightly better than nearby Gadsden, Ala., which ranked 363.
Jones said he would like to see a per capita GDP figure to compare with cities of comparable size, “how much are we making per person instead of all total,” Jones said. The professor said that one of the problems with GDP, as an economic barometer is that it is a quantitative measure and does not take quality into consideration.
A positive factor in the report would be that Rome’s non-inflation adjusted economic output has risen slightly each year since 2009.
Education and health services were the most positive areas in Rome, with a modest 0.82 percent contribution to the change from 2010 to 2011. Wholesale and retail trade activity was up 0.36 percent. Durable-good manufacturing was also up 0.77 percent.
Output from government related activities was down 1.21 percent and nondurable-goods manufacturing was also down 1.07 percent.