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Foreign companies brought 27,000 jobs to Ga. in past year

Georgia’s global economic outreach program created $5.56 billion in investment and 27,000 new jobs in the state during the 2018 fiscal year, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced Wednesday.

In a statement, Gov. Nathan Deal credited the success of the Global Commerce Division, which works to bring foreign businesses to Georgia through relocation or expansion, to the business-friendly policies enacted by state and local authorities during his time in office.

A number of components, from Georgia’s advanced logistical infrastructure to financial incentives offered by the state government have created a “winning combination” in landing economic investment, said Jeff Humphreys, a University of Georgia economics professor.

Georgia holds a transportation advantage over most states, Humphreys said, with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Port of Savannah and multiple interstates making it easy to move materials and people. In addition, Georgia offers benefits to companies which come to Georgia, playing what Humphreys calls the “incentives game.”

For example, Georgia’s corporate tax rate is 6 percent, but the state offers a variety of credits that can lower or even eliminate that tax rate depending on factors such as a company’s industry or its level of investment.

Atlanta boasts a diverse and deep labor pool and remains the “center of gravity” for consumer spending in the Southeast, Humphreys said. He also said Georgia’s economic development professionals, from the state department to utility companies, make it easier to for companies to do business in the state.

While Atlanta is typically seen as the economic center of Georgia, 80 percent of new projects in the past year were located outside the metro area, according to the release. This number does not take into account the size of each project.

Atlanta is still likely receiving the majority of foreign investment, Humphreys said, but areas outside the city’s 29-county metro area have recently seen increased foreign investment.

The total investment and job numbers are a slight drop from last year’s record-breaking numbers. In fiscal year 2017, the governor’s office reported $6.33 billion in business investment and 30,000 new jobs from foreign-based businesses. Still, Georgia has outperformed most other states in landing projects ever since the Great Recession, Humphreys said.

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