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Governor Perdue Announces Banner Year for Economic Development in 2004

Thursday, April 7, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Job Growth, Investments Among Most Significant Gains

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that economic development in Georgia increased dramatically in 2004 over the previous year, bringing new jobs and additional investment to the state.  Statistics from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) show steady growth in the number of businesses the department has recruited to Georgia, the amount of products exported from the state and the number of tourist lodging expenditures.

“One of my top priorities is to provide our citizens with more job opportunities and a better quality of life,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “The state economy continues to grow and Georgians are better off now than they were a year ago.  These results demonstrate that our hard work is paying off for the people of Georgia.”

GDEcD's newly named division of Global Commerce reported that through its efforts 10,808 new jobs for Georgians were announced in 2004 – an increase of 28.6 percent from 2003.  The division's work resulted in an even more dramatic improvement in announced new investments in Georgia, with a 45.4 percent increase over 2003 for a total of $1.969 billion.  GDEcD reports that 143 projects were successfully located with its assistance.  According the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of new jobs created during 2004 in Georgia was 45,000.

“These are great results we can directly attribute to the leadership of Governor Perdue and our collaborations with local and regional partners throughout the state,” said GDEcD Commissioner Craig Lesser.  “Thanks in large part to their dedication and hard work, Georgia has a reputation as a great place for business in communities around the country and throughout the world.”

International companies accounted for 40 locations, or 28 percent of the announcements.  Of these, 23 were European and 10 were Japanese.  Sanderson Farms in Colquitt County and Toyo Rubber in Bartow County were two of the largest investments and job creators.

Also on the global front, Georgia jumped from the 14th largest exporting state in the country in 2003 to 11th in 2004, with over $19.6 billion in exports.  Once again the state outpaced the nation with a growth in exports.  Georgia's exports grew by 21 percent, whereas U.S. exports grew by 13 percent. 

Tourism numbers are equally encouraging.  According to the latest Smith Travel Research Standard Historical TREND Report, Georgia hotel revenues totaled $2.479 billion in 2004, up 9.55 percent over $2.263 billion in 2003, equaling a revenue increase of $216 million.  All travel regions showed an increase of at least six percent to resume a pre-9/11 trend upward, with the Southern Rivers region showing the largest increase of 13.12 percent and the Atlanta Metro region at 9.99 percent.  Additionally, GDEcD's 11 visitor information centers around the state served almost 10 percent more visitors and made almost 40 percent more hotel reservations than in 2003, totaling $1,979,027 in 2004.

            The Film, Video & Music division reported the economic impact of productions in 2004 was $123.5 million, up from $99.4 million in 2003.  The total number of productions, including feature, independent, and TV/episodic film, commercials and music videos, also increased, from 208 in 2003 to 252 in 2004.  One of these productions is the HBO film Warm Springs starring Kenneth Branagh, Cynthia Nixon, Jane Alexander and Kathy Bates.  The film, premiering April 30, 2005, is based on President Roosevelt's experiences battling the effects of polio in Warm Springs, Georgia and its impact on his personal and political beliefs.  It was filmed in Warm Springs, Madison, Gainesville, Summerville and Atlanta.