Economic Outlook in Thomasville, GA

Researchers from the University of Georgia say the state's economy won't improve much this year over last. Still, things are looking up in Thomas County.

It was a record year for Flowers Foods last year, and Flowers says this year should be even better.

"We expect to continue going in the same direction we're going in now. The bread industry is a great place to be right now. The USDA has just come out with new eating guidelines that include whole grain foods as a part of a regular diet. And we're prepared to meet that consumer need."

And while industries like flowers foods keep the Thomas County economy growing, research from the University of Georgia says the state's economy is not growing the way it should.

"We still have not reached that peak level of total employment that we were at before the recession started. And we think it will take another year to gain all the jobs back we lost."

And Benson says until we get all the jobs back he doesn't expect to see a lot of economic growth in the state, but he says Thomas County businesses offer inspiration for the rest of the state.

"I think that the solid foundation of any company is the people,” people like those working at Flowers Foods that put a positive ripple in the state and nation's economy.

It is predicted that Georgia’s economy will grow by about 3.2 percent in 2005, almost a full percentage point below the national average.