A record-breaking year for investment in Georgia included $1.9 billion spent on 89 foreign-owned projects.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced the numbers as part of a broader release revealing that the state’s Global Commerce division (which handles more than cross-border business) had netted $5.56 billion in new investments, with pledges to create 27,373 jobs.
That’s built on a record 419 projects the Georgia Department of Economic Development touched during the most recent fiscal year, which ends in June.
Mr. Deal, whose second term ends this year, seized on the growth to highlight global momentum in a state that frequently touts its No. 1 business ranking for five years running by Site Selection magazine.
Much as he did while lifting the jet-fuel tax last week, the governor emphasized that international business is vital to the state’s future.
“As we head further into this century of promise and work to maintain Georgia’s position of leadership on the international stage, we are creating opportunities today and for generations to come,” Mr. Deal said in a news release.
Foreign investments made up 21.2 percent of global commerce projects but 25 percent of jobs pledged and a third of capital investment.
Europe was once again the leading source market, accounting for more than half of the individual foreign-direct investment projects and 56 percent of jobs created from foreign enterprises (3,800). The United Kingdom, France and Germany were called out as key investors.
Asia came next, with 1,822 jobs created on 24 locations and $489 in capital investment. Korean and Japanese companies took the lead, as has traditionally been the case in a state that has seen rapid expansion in the automotive sector.
Crucially for the statewide department, some 80 percent of locations occurred outside metro Atlanta, and about half of new jobs and capital investment came from return customers — companies with locations already in the state.
That applies to foreign companies as well, meaning not all inbound foreign investment was so-called “greenfield” investment, which indicates a completely new plant. One good example: Japan-owned building products company Nichiha announced this week that it would spend $120 million on a plant expansion in Macon. That would be calculated as a Japanese investment in next year’s figures.
Software and data centers posted the biggest gains in job growth at 153 percent and 83 percent respectively.
Georgia’s Entrepreneur and Small Business team also served 586 businesses, 60 percent of which were startups.
Map from GDEcD:FY 18 Global Commerce announcements map