Georgia Ports Have a Deep Impact on Economy

Governor Nathan Deal

June 7, 2012

Gov. Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal

"The Economic Impact of Georgia’s Deepwater Ports" by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at UGA’s Terry College of Business shows Georgia’s deepwater ports support 352,146 full- and part-time jobs across the state, up from 295,422 found in a 2009 study. Georgia ports now account for 8.3 percent of total state employment, or one out of 12 jobs.

The research shows strong employment opportunities – linked directly or indirectly to the ports – exist in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. The findings are a testament to the ports’ sustaining power to create jobs. Our transportation and logistics industry drives statewide and regional commerce while our deepwater ports generate revenue, create jobs and offer opportunities for growth in every corner of the state through our global transportation network. This puts Georgia even closer to being the No. 1 state to do business.

Selig Center Director Jeff Humphreys conducted the study, which found statewide FY11 impacts also include:
  • $66.9 billion in sales (9.5 percent of Georgia’s total sales); 
  • $32.4 billion in state GDP (7.8 percent of Georgia’s total GDP); 
  • $18.5 billion in income (5.2 percent of Georgia’s total personal income); 
  • $4.5 billion in federal taxes; 
  • $1.4 billion in state taxes; and 
  • $1.1 billion in local taxes.
“These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on imports and exports through Georgia’s deepwater ports translates into jobs, higher incomes, greater production of goods and services and revenue collections for government,” said Humphreys. “Port operations help preserve Georgia’s manufacturing base, support Georgia’s agricultural economy and foster growth of the state’s massive logistics, distribution and warehousing cluster.

The Terry College of Business study showed that the total impact of Georgia’s deepwater ports on the state’s economy was $66.9 billion, or 9.5 percent of Georgia’s output in FY11.

Measured in terms of income, Georgia’s deepwater ports contributed $18.5 billion in personal income to the state in FY2011, which is 5.2 percent of Georgia’s total.

“The results of the Terry College study are very encouraging,” said Curtis Foltz, Georgia Ports Authority executive director. “It is clear from the study that the ports fuel a dynamic economic engine, especially considering the research was done at a time when the national economy marked slow to no growth.”

For the first time, Dr. Humphreys and the Terry College of Business examined the impact of Georgia’s deepwater ports on every county in the state, which revealed new results. In the 10-county Atlanta region, for example, more than 150,000 jobs are port-related. The second largest employment impact is in the Coastal Georgia region, representing six coastal and four inland counties and including the ports of Savannah and Brunswick.

In addition to the Terry College study, the GPA tracks the industry categories for import and export trade by county and economic development region. Below are statistical profiles for Georgia’s seven major metropolitan regions, including the study’s job findings and trade details.