Deal touts big year for Georgia business recruiting

11:13 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 Business
Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A new Honeywell division and research center is set to open at 715 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal visited the new offices Tuesday of one of the state’s highest profile corporate recruits to celebrate what the state called a record-breaking year for its economic development team.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development played a role in expansion and business relocation decisions in the year ended June 30 that will lead to 30,309 new jobs in the state. The work by the department, Deal said, led to $6.33 billion in new investments, a record for the department.

All told, 377 companies worked with the department in their expansion and relocation efforts, Deal said at an event at the new Honeywell North American Software Center, one of the big names the state landed during the past fiscal year. Honeywell announced plans last October to put the software center and a division headquarters in Midtown that will eventually hold more than 800 jobs.

“The (fiscal year 2017) investment numbers and new jobs figures represent not only meaningful opportunities for communities across our state, but also new sources of income for more than 30,000 families,” Deal said in a news release.

The visit to Honeywell comes as Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed gear up to pitch for the second headquarters for Amazon, a project said to feature 50,000 new jobs, in what is the largest corporate jobs deal in recent memory.

For more than a year, the Atlanta region has been one of the top metro areas in the nation for new job growth amid the long-running economic recovery. Among the areas of growth seen in the Atlanta area has been in logistics, finance and tech jobs.

The roster of jobs wins notched by the state in fiscal year 2017 include GE Digital (250 jobs), an Anthem software center (1,800 jobs), a Sentury Tire factory (1,000-plus jobs) and NCR (1,800 jobs).

Deal said about 80 percent of the total project announcements were outside the Atlanta area.

Existing companies with Georgia operations accounted for about 60 percent of the job creation and investment totals, respectively.

Deal said fiscal 2017 was a strong year for foreign direct investment, with European firms picking Georgia for 51 project locations, totaling an expected 4,468 jobs. Asian firms, meanwhile, chose Georgia for 22 project locations and 1,445 announced jobs.

Financial technology and software and technology jobs both saw large increases over the prior year in terms of total jobs and investment, the state said.

In fiscal year 2016, the department tallied 25,341 new jobs and generate $4.4 billion in investment.

Pat Wilson, the state’s commissioner for economic development, said the 2017 fiscal figures “are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Global Commerce team as well as our economic development partners around the state.”

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