5 Trends to Watch: 2023 Georgia Economic Development
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- Electric mobility manufacturing drives Georgia forward. Hyundai recently located its first fully dedicated electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in southeast Georgia; a SK On/Hyundai joint venture is building a separate electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facility northwest of Atlanta; and Rivian is building its largest manufacturing facility 60 miles east of Atlanta. These projects. and many others connected to EV production, put Georgia in the driver's seat for electric vehicle manufacturing in the United States. As we've seen with the internal combustion vehicle industry, these manufacturing facilities form the heart of an entire ecosystem, and Georgia aims to provide the full e-mobility industry supply chain as it prepares for a sustainable future. Look for announcements across the industry, from cathode and anode manufacturing to battery recycling.
- Rural Georgia leads the way. Massive deals such as Rivian, Hyundai, SK and Qcells - the solar panel manufacturer that recently announced a $2.5 billion expansion in northwest Georgia - are just some of the economic development that has occurred outside the metro Atlanta area. Areas outside the 10-county metro Atlanta region accounted for 85% of jobs created and 92% of investments from economic development projects during the second half of 2022. Four of Georgia's largest industries - advanced manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and food processing - accounted for nearly 75% of new jobs and 84% percent of investments.
- Foreign investment will continue. Foreign direct investment accounted for over $8 billion in investments in Georgia during fiscal year 2022, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Korea-based projects represented the highest job creation and investment from a single country. With the Hyundai plant attracting new entries, expect Korean investment to maintain its top spot in 2023. The locals certainly do: Bulloch County, along with Bryan, Effingham and Chatham counties, were recently briefed on best practices for welcoming new Korean neighbors by Jeanne Charbonneau, a volunteer who has served for 17 years as the point of contact for newly arrived South Koreans at Hyundai's first U.S. plant in Montgomery, Ala.
- International trade will expand. We also look for foreign trade to expand alongside growth at the Port of Savannah. The State's commitment to maintaining the Port of Savannah's position as the single largest and fastest-growing container terminal in America continues with the port's plans to expand its container capacity by 60% by 2025. At the same time, Delta is opening new international routes from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the Georgia Ports Authority is planning a second inland port to receive goods inland for rail transport to and from the coastal terminals.
- Finally, workforce housing takes the stage. With the promise of these new jobs comes the task of finding workers a place to live. Governor Brian Kemp has signaled he will propose funding for more workforce housing along with legislation to loosen local zoning restrictions. We'll be on the lookout not just for the funding, but for the turf wars as economic development locks horns with "local control" in communities across Georgia.
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