Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Pat Wilson joins co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick on this week’s All About Real Estate segment of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio to share some exciting news! For the eighth consecutive year, Georgia is again ranked No. 1 for business by Site Selection Magazine.
Tasked by the governor and general assembly, the GDEcD is the state’s sales and marketing component focused on attracting new business investment, aligning workforce education and training with in-demand jobs, promoting the expansion of existing small businesses and industry, attracting tourists to the state, determining new markets for Georgia products and promoting Georgia as a destination for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as preparing and mobilizing state resources for economic growth.
According to Wilson, 95% of the jobs in the state are small businesses, and its 12 international offices help local companies with on-the-ground advice and links into new markets. Serving as the home base of 18 Fortune 500 companies, Georgia also supports a $2.9 billion economic impact from film and in 2019, $10.8 billion in aerospace exports. Additionally, as a $66 billion industry, tourism typically supports nearly 500,000 jobs statewide.
Having served under three governors over the past 10 years, Wilson recalls 2009 and what it was like coming out of the Great Recession. According to Wilson, the state of Georgia had shrunk its budget from $21 billion to $16 billion and the unemployment rate was in the teens.
“Things were looking rough because we had been so reliant on the construction industry in this fast-growing state,” Wilson said.
In an effort to not merely come out of the recession but to grow from it, the state and general assembly opted out of raising taxes.
“In fact, we’re going to lower taxes on energy costs used in manufacturing,” Wilson said. “We’re going to create an environment for the state to really grow our businesses. Through that, they laid the groundwork to be named the No. 1 state in the nation for business and we’ve now held that ranking for an unprecedented eight years.
“We’re really excited about that because it shows a commitment from leadership in the state and the business community in the state to continue to move Georgia in the right direction. What comes out of that are jobs and opportunities for Georgians.”
The No. 1 ranking was determined by a number of factors. According to Wilson, site selectors do all the legwork for companies comparing site availability, workforce and logistics network, all the things that make a company prosper in the long run.
“The site selectors weigh all that out and give a recommendation to companies on where they should ultimately locate,” Wilson said. “Half of this ranking comes directly from site selectors and the other half is based on criteria and input [related to] workforce data, transportation and infrastructure, ease of permitting, really all the things that make a successful business climate.
“So, they come up with a score and Georgia was ranked No. 1 again for the eighth year in a row. The fascinating thing is that we actually share it with North Carolina this year. It’s the first time in history they (Site Selector) have had a tie.”
Some good news for such an unprecedented year? In the first four months of the state’s fiscal year, it welcomed almost 12,000 new jobs, according to Wilson. That’s a 45% increase from last year amongst a pandemic! To learn more about GDEcD, call 404-962-4000 or visit www.Georgia.org.
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New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
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