A new study shows that Georgia's deep water ports are the state's "strongest economic engines" and account for 9 percent of the state's employment. The study, supported by a Georgia Ports Authority grant, was done by Jeffrey Humphreys, the director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. Savannahnow.com reports that the ports at Savannah and Brunswick supported 439,220 full- and part-time jobs in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That's a jump of 59 percent from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2003, when the ports supported 275,968 jobs, the paper reports. In the coastal region, which includes Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Screven counties, there are 58,741 port-related jobs. Chatham County has the lion's share of the region's jobs, with 39,025. In the Atlanta area's 10-county region, there are 209,235 port-related jobs. "The ports are especially supportive of other forms of transportation, manufacturing, wholesale/distribution centers, and agriculture," Humphreys wrote. "The outstanding performance of Georgia's deep water ports, relative to other American ports, reflects strong competitive advantages that allowed Georgia's ports to expand their share of activities. These advantages are largely the result of strategic investments in port facilities by the state of Georgia over many years."
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