Six Months into 2020: $2 Billion in New Investments, Georgia USA Economy on Right Track
26 Jul, 2020
In 2020, COVID-19 has quickly altered almost every aspect of our social lives and the plans of businesses all around the world have been turned upside-down. However, our team at the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has continued our mission of creating job and investment opportunities across the state; and six months into a very challenging year, Georgia’s economic growth and recovery is on the right track.
Between March 14 and June 30, 2020 alone, 72 new projects have been announced, creating more than 7,863 jobs and $2.12 billion in investment. Roughly 4,000 of these jobs are coming to Georgia’s rural areas.
Even while facing a global pandemic, jobs and investment numbers increased when compared to the same time period last year.
Companies from around the globe know that in Georgia, you can truly make anything, anywhere in the state — whether it be a world-class automobile or a Peabody Award-winning film. In fact, this year our state has been recognized for doing both.
Listed below are just a few of the numerous ways Georgia has confirmed its title as the No. 1 State to Do Business during the first half of the year:
- Since the beginning of 2020, 130 projects have been announced around the state, delivering 11,628 jobs and more than $2.95 billion in investment. More than 7,000 of these new jobs are being created in our state’s rural regions.
- Georgia kicked off the year by earning the top ranking for workforce development in the South Atlantic Region from Site Selection Magazine.
- In January, Governor Kemp opened the newly expanded Georgia Europe office in Germany, where a team of five focus on growing investment and trade opportunities on behalf of the state. This is in addition to Georgia’s two tourism promotion representatives in Munich, Germany.
- In January, the state celebrated Georgia Made™ Day at the State Capitol. The event featured an exposition of products from Georgia manufacturers as well as the launch of the Georgia Made™ logo. Companies represented included an array of Georgia industries from heavy industrial to food manufacturing and life sciences.
- In February, the state announced a record-setting year for trade in 2019. But GDEcD’s International Trade Division has not stopped there. With an eye to increasing those numbers, our International Trade division announced the Export, Georgia USA Directory, an international marketing tool, which provides an online platform for Georgia companies interested in promoting their products or services globally to international buyers.
- In March, the Georgia Film Office celebrated a record-breaking $2.9 billion year during the annual Film Day at the Capitol. The Georgia Film Office also launched the Georgia FilmWorks website, which uses personal stories to highlight the contributions the film industry has made on the lives of Georgians, small businesses and communities.
- In March, Director of the Automotive, Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing team, Ashley Varnum, was recognized by Consultant Connect as one of North America’s 2020 “Top 50 Economic Developers.”
- In April, the World Car Awards named Kia Motors’ Georgia Made™ Telluride the World Car of the Year.
- Since March, more than 272 Georgia companies have pulled together, retooled their machines and produced critical supplies and PPE to collectively fight COVID-19. Our Department’s regularly updated ‘COVID-19 Suppliers: Interactive List and Map’ displays the businesses supplying these critical resources and where they are located.
- In May, 18 companies headquartered in Georgia were recognized as Fortune 500 companies; and 34 Georgia businesses were included on the Fortune 1,000 company list.
- Also in May, the Georgia Council for the Arts saw the state’s largest participation ever in the national 2020 Poetry Out Loud competition, with 106 schools from 59 different counties, 11,645 students and 574 teachers involved.
- In June, Georgia received its 12th Shovel Award by Area Development, recognizing the state’s excellence in attracting investments and creating jobs.
- In June, Georgia-filmed “Watchmen” and “Stranger Things” both earned Peabody Awards. The Peabody Awards are based at the University of Georgia’s prestigious journalism school.
- In mid-June, Governor Kemp announced that the major motion picture, television, and streaming companies, after pausing production due to COVID-19, plan to bring back and hire an estimated 40,000 production workers. These workers will be employed on an expected seventy-five production projects that will invest over $2 billion into Georgia’s economy during the next eighteen months. This includes plans by producers to purchase goods and services from over 17,000 small Georgia businesses, according to the Motion Picture Association-America, which compiled the data from its members.
- Also in June, Explore Georgia, the state’s tourism division, announced 25-year marketing veteran Mark Jaronski would soon take the helm as its new Deputy Commissioner. While travel came to an abrupt halt in the spring due to the COVID-19 crisis, Explore Georgia proceeded to conduct its sensitive and strategic promotional activities. These efforts have, in the absence of paid media, resulted in the highest website traffic in five years and have increased engagement in our social media channels. Audience growth on Facebook was nearly double that of surrounding state travel offices. As tourism begins its recovery, Georgia will remain strongly positioned to safely welcome travelers.
- At the end of June, Governor Kemp announced that SK innovation will invest another $940 million to expand their manufacturing plant in Commerce, Georgia, creating 600 jobs. This new project is in addition to the company’s $1.67 billion investment to develop two manufacturing facilities in Georgia that will deliver 2,000 jobs in Jackson County. This takes SK innovation’s total announced investment in Georgia to date to an unprecedented $2.61 billion.
From new investment ventures with Global Fortune 500 companies to accolades recognizing the state for consistently attracting jobs and investment, Georgia has continued to lead the way back to economic prosperity throughout the first half of 2020.
By: Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson
Posted: June 30, 2020