Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday that jobs and investment generated by the Global Commerce division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development jumped by almost a third during the state’s most recent fiscal year. The department reported that the 403 company expansions or locations with which it assisted created 28,776 jobs, an increase of 29 percent from last fiscal year, and $5.97 billion in investment, a 32 percent increase. These statistics reflect a trend of continued growth since the state’s 2009 fiscal year.
“These figures are more than numbers — they represent the growth of hope and opportunity for our citizens,” said Deal. “This tangible evidence of proactive company growth is a sign that not only is our economy on the path to recovery, but also that Georgia’s top-notch business climate has helped us stand out against our competition.”
The 403 projects worked on by GDEcD’s Global Commerce Division during fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30, 2012, also represented an 11 percent increase from the previous year. Of those projects, 36 percent were new locations, highlighted by companies such as Baxter, Caterpillar and Bed, Bath & Beyond. These three projects alone created 4,100 jobs. The remaining 64 percent were expansions by existing Georgia companies. The largest of these expansions were by Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (1,000 jobs) and Home Depot (700 jobs).
Foreign direct investment, which typically creates more jobs per project, accounted for 29 percent of the year’s projects. Kia suppliers such as Mando and Daewon America continued to add jobs to the west Georgia region while others around the state were generated by companies including Kubota, Toyota Industries, Erdrich Umformtechnik, Dinex and SANY.
The Global Commerce Division also managed aggressive outreach to Georgia’s small businesses and entrepreneur-led ventures, with 66 percent of companies assisted by the division’s Existing Industry and Regional Recruitment team during FY12 classified as small businesses. More than 1,100 startups and small businesses were assisted through direct contact or resource awareness.
With the increased funding assistance from two federal grants, GDEcD’s International Trade Office also experienced a successful year, facilitating 17 percent more export deals than the previous year, for a total of 311. The trade division also served 1,111 companies, a jump of 30 percent, and increased the number of export opportunities it provided to Georgia companies by 121 percent.
Increasing foreign direct investment in Georgia as well as trade opportunities for Georgia companies were the objectives of FY12 international missions led by Deal to China, Korea and Turkey, and are promoted year-round by the state’s 10 international offices. The state also implemented strategies to enhance its competitiveness in global commerce as a result of recommendations laid out by the Georgia Competitive Initiative, Deal’s economic development blueprint.
“Achieving these kinds of results is always a group effort,” said GDEcD commissioner Chris Cummiskey. “Thanks to our many partners, we’re able to bring the kind of flexibility, reliability and resourcefulness these companies are looking for, and often that makes all the difference.”