AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – New numbers from Georgia’s Department of Labor show a hike in unemployment rates across the state. Despite this, officials say the labor force is growing.

That’s something we’re seeing right here at home. We talked to local officials who say the growth doesn’t stop there.

Pho-Ramen’L is one of the 18 new businesses stated to open up in 2022. The Downtown Development Authority says despite the pandemic, businesses are still booming.

“Your downtown is really small business,” said Margaret Woodard, executive director of Downtown Development Authority.

Restaurants like Pho-Ramen’L, Taste Wine Room, and Tacocat are just some of the new businesses making their mark on Broad Street.

The DDA also wants to remind folks to shop and eat local here in downtown Augusta Pho-Ramen’L, Taste Wine Room, and Tacocat are all to open next month. If you’re interested in working for Pho-Ramen’L, they are accepting resumes. Email yours to [email protected]

“During the pandemic, it was estimated that 30 percent of small businesses would not survive the pandemic. So in 2020, we saw a net gain of 27 to 30 new businesses that opened, and that’s strong,” said Woodward.

With new businesses come jobs and housing opportunities.

“Projects get done, and we were very excited about them, but now we are seeing very large projects come out the ground, and they are successful,” she said.

The DDA says they plan to help new businesses get on their feet and thrive this year.

“We have loan programs through the DDA. If you purchase a building, we have low-interest loans, and we have a side grant program to help people get through the open,” said Woodward. “I think one of our initiatives this year is to look at some small business incubator to help people get up and running looking at affordable space looking for people to do pop-up events.”

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