By Chris Clark, President & CEO, Georgia Chamber
While most of the country has suffered significant GDP losses and an economic downturn, Georgia has experienced a solid top 10 economic growth in the first half of 2022. Around the state, corporate leaders and small businesses are worried about national inflation but remain optimistic and confident about Georgia’s own economic prospects.
That confidence is borne out of the facts coupled with the solid leadership of Governor Brian Kemp.
In 2018, Brian Kemp ran for Governor on a bold plan to spur economic growth, reform state government, strengthen rural communities, and protect Georgia families from violence—and that is exactly what he has done. Leading the nation by being the first Governor in the country to safely re-open the state during the COVID-19 pandemic helped jumpstart our economic recovery efforts. Under the Governor’s leadership, we have seen the largest tax cut in Georgia’s history; we are now experiencing the lowest ever unemployment rate with the most people ever in the workforce; we have landed the two largest economic development projects in state history, and since 2018, we have recruited over 1400 manufacturers, logistics, headquarters and agricultural businesses which will create 137,000 new jobs and invest nearly $50 billion into our economy.
Georgia’s film and entertainment industry has seen record growth coming out of the pandemic, with 366 productions spending $4.4 billion in the state in FY2021. Manufacturing employment is nearing a 20 year high and corporate headquarters continue to relocate to Georgia. The Peach State is a top destination for foreign direct investment and our agricultural exports are soaring.
Governor Kemp and the Georgia Ports Authority were innovative during last year’s supply chain crisis to lead the nation in the delivery of goods, food, and products. Because of that bold action, we’ve seen record growth in ports traffic in the last two years, with a 24% increase in 2020, 20% increase in 2021, and already an 18.5% increase in FY 2023.
Investment and future prosperity aren’t confined to the Atlanta region, which is booming as well. Over 77% of development investments have found homes in rural Georgia.
The state’s economy continues to stand above the rest evidenced by having recently been named the best state in which to do business for an unprecedented 9 years in a row by Area Development Magazine. More importantly, in the midst of the COVID recession, Georgia’s GDP grew by $51 billion. Today in our state there are between 300,000 and 400,000 open jobs, providing opportunities for every Georgian!
So how have we been able to rise above many of the economic challenges facing our nation? Simply put, Governor Kemp and other statewide leaders have made an unwavering commitment to protecting, promoting, and improving the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.
Companies are responding to a state focused on helping each citizen grow, find a high paying job and securing their own prosperity. Company leaders like our pro-business bipartisan approach, a general assembly that values balanced budgets and sound fiscal policy.
Businesses appreciate the Board of Regent’s focus on research, development, and student success. They see a technical college system that responds on a moment’s notice to the needs of the workforce, and a K-12 system focused on support for students and teachers all resonate with a business community hungry for talent.
Governor Kemp has collaborated with state leaders including Attorney General Chris Carr to prioritize a number of public safety initiatives aimed at keeping our communities and businesses safe. Enhanced resources for law enforcement to combat criminal gang activity, cybersecurity, organized retail theft, and human trafficking have also had a positive impact on the state from an economic perspective.
The Georgia Chamber is proud to work with these incredible public servants every day and look forward to 4 more years of economic prosperity and security!