500-plus jobs coming to northwest Georgia

Two northwest Georgia counties expect hundreds of jobs to be created in the years to come with recently announced plant-expansion plans.

Toyo Tire will launch a fourth expansion of operations in Bartow County, possibly adding more than 400 workers. In Carroll County, Trident Seafoods will expand a former Chiquita food plant to produce frozen seafood products, creating 175 jobs.

The announcements were the latest indications that jobs continue to be created in North Georgia despite recent reports that unemployment is on the rise. The latest jobless figure for Georgia is expected Thursday from the state Labor Department. While the unemployment rate jumped to 8.6 percent in June from 8.3 percent in May, the private sector continued to add jobs. Thursday’s report will be for July.

Government economic incentives, including tax breaks and employee training assistance, have proven to be strong selling points in attracting new industry as the economy strengthens.

In 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal announced an agreement to increase Bartow’s bonding capacity, which the governor said would allow Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing to continue expanding its local operations.

Toyo Tire said this will be its fourth expansion in recent years to meet growing demand for its passenger and light truck tires. The manufacturer began operations in White in 2004.

In a statement in Osaka, Japan, Toyo Tire President and Chief Executive Officer Akira Nobuki said, “With an investment of approximately 20 billion yen (about $203 million), the plan is to increase the size of the facility by 1.5 times, install equipment that will represent half of all capacity and initially achieve an annual production capacity boost of 2.5 million tires.”

In Carroll County, Trident Seafoods plans to expand an existing 104,000-square-foot building in Carrollton by an additional 43,000 square feet to produce a variety and oven-ready frozen food products. The $41 million project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014. Hiring will begin in 2014.

Food processing is the state’s largest manufacturing sector. With a fleet of more than 30 vessels, Trident catches and processes wild Alaska salmon, cod, crab and pollock for retail and food service customers.

“Georgia is the logical place for Trident Seafoods to expand its East Coast operations,” Deal said in announcing the Washington company’s plans Wednesday. “From our highway system that allows trucks to reach 80 percent of the U.S. market in two days to our highly trained workforce, the state offers a wealth of resources to help Trident reach its business goals.”

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development did not immediately know about any incentives Trident may have received.