Manufacturing jobs in Georgia increased for a seventh straight year, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI). MNI reports the state added 4,373 new manufacturing jobs between May 2016 and May 2017, which was double the increase reported for 2015-2016.
Currently, Georgia's 9,124 manufacturers employ 493,350 people. Since May of 2010, the state's industrial workforce has grown steadily, adding more than 27,000 jobs or 6 percent.
"Georgia gets high marks for a number of site-selection factors, including a robust economy, low labor costs, solid infrastructure and access to capital," said Tom Dubin, MNI president. "The state has allowed automakers to grow and thrive, and this has boosted employment across multiple sub-sectors. However, finding skilled workers for today's advanced manufacturing remains a challenge."
Georgia's job gains were led by the transportation equipment industry, which added another 2.3 percent to its workforce in the past year. The state's post-recession factory employment gains have been largely driven by the transportation equipment sector, which has grown by 32 percent in the past seven years. The transportation equipment industry now ranks as the state's third-largest sector by number of manufacturing jobs, employing 47,520.
Numerous plant openings were announced in Georgia over the year, including two major operations in Macon: Irving Consumer Products' $400-million tissue plant and Kumho Tire Georgia's 1-million-square-foot factory. In addition, Constellium NV opened an automotive aluminum plant in White, ScotBilt homes broke ground on a manufactured home plant in Millen, and Vanguard National Trailer set up shop in Trenton.
Among the sectors adding jobs in the state included fabricated metals, chemicals, industrial machinery and electronics. The industries reporting losses were paper products, printing/publishing and textiles. Food processing, which ranks as the state's largest industry by factory employment, added 1.2 percent to its workforce. Marginal gains were also recorded in furniture/fixtures, stone/clay/glass and rubber/plastics.
Manufacturers closing their Georgia locations included Shaw Industries, which shuttered its plant in Fitzgerald, and Boeing, which closed its Macon factory.
Atlanta remains the state's largest city by number of manufacturing jobs with 59,430 workers, while second-ranked Dalton accounts for 22,469. Third-ranked Alpharetta is now home to 20,522 manufacturing jobs.
For more information, visit www.mni.net.