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Norton to present his annual economic forecast Thursday
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Norton Native Intelligence Report

When: Thursday; prefunction activities begin at 5 p.m., presentation begins at 6 p.m., followed by reception
Where: Georgia Mountains Center, 301 Main Street SW, Gainesville
Cost: Free

Real estate expert Frank Norton will present his Native Intelligence forecast Thursday at the Georgia Mountains Center. And this year, Norton said, some new ideas made their way into the report.

"We asked business leaders throughout the region three questions and we call it ‘Forty Views of the Future,'" Norton said. "We have some very interesting views of our opportunities, our challenges, and these 40 leaders' dreams for Northeast Georgia."

This will be the 24th time that Norton, president of The Norton Agency in Gainesville, presents his economic outlook for Northeast Georgia. In the past, up to 1,000 people have attended the free event.

"The Norton agency made a commitment toward research some 25 years ago to provide our clients the most comprehensive research in the region," Norton said.

"And we felt that the general community could benefit, our competitors could benefit, bankers and clients could benefit, government could benefit from an increased awareness of what was happening."

Research for the report is a year-round task, Norton said, and he starts writing the report in October.

This year, the final copy measured 48 pages.

Also for the first time this year, Norton collaborated with North Georgia College & State University, employing interns as field researchers.

Students from a class Norton helped teach at the college also wrote one section of the report's "Top Ten Trends."

"This class was an interesting exercise in that they researched the poultry industry and the medical industry and they have proved that the medical industry is now the No. 1 industry in Northeast Georgia and has taken over poultry," Norton said.

Other trends among the top 10 center on real estate, consumer habits, changes in demographics and shifts in government, Norton said.

Kit Dunlap, president of the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce, said the presentation has become a must-attend event for many in Northeast Georgia who find Norton's localized predictions valuable.

"Frank has a pulse on what's happening in Gainesville and Hall County," she said. "... What Frank does is kind of boils it down to northeast Georgia and different counties and he'll probably take a different twist on it this time."

Regional events