2018 was a very good year for economic development in the Gainesville-Hall County metro - so says the Economic Development Year End Review from the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce (GHCC).
The Chamber's Economic Development Council (EDC) released the report Thursday, showing positive signs of business growth across the board.
"Economic development activity for 2018 has been very diversified across small business, big business, the new Lanier Tech campus and the new inland port terminal announcement - a lot of great things going on," said Tim Evans, Vice President of Economic Development for GHCC.
The reports shows 14 new and expanding large business firms adding some 1,200 new jobs to the market and making $310 million in new capital investment to Gainesville-Hall County. That investment represents an 80-percent increase in capital investment over 2017.
Evans said he expects to see continued growth in the new year, especially when it comes to jobs.
"I was recently at the economic outlook luncheon with Dr. Benjamin Ayers of the Terry College of Business [at the University of Georgia] and his forecast for 2019 was that Gainesville and Hall County would again lead the state with job growth," Evans said.
In the most recent 12-month data, the Georgia Department of Labor reported that Gainesville-Hall County added 3,794 jobs from October 2017 to October 2018, a 3.9 % increase for the 12-month period. The latest unemployment date for the Gainesville MSA showed the unemployment rate at 2.6-percent [November 2018 data].
In a press statement on the year-end report, David Lee of Jackson EMC, who is the Vice-Chair of Economic Development for the GHCC Board, discussed the business environment for the area.
"Georgia has earned the #1 ranking for its business environment for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year, and during that time, Gainesville-Hall County has been the top job producing Metropolitan Area in the state," Lee said.
In 2018, Site Selection magazine named Gainesville-Hall County one of the "Top Small Metros in the Nation for Job Creation and Investment." In addition, Forbes magazine has rated Gainesville-Hall County as one of the “Best Small Places for Business & Careers” for the last six years.
Statistics showed some of the greatest employment gains came from small businesses in 2018. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the 4,417 businesses in Hall County are categorized as small, using the Small Business Administration’s definition of fewer than 500 employees.
The report also pointed to healthcare services, transportation improvements and tourism as other areas of positive impact for the 2018 business environment.
To read more details of the 2018 Year End Review, follow this link to the GHCC website.