Saturday May 25th, 2024 10:03AM

Greater Hall Chamber reports ‘better than average performance’ from 2023 economy

By Christian Ashliman Anchor/Reporter

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce Thursday provided a report recapping the economy in 2023 with year-end results showing expanding developments, new jobs and added investments.

The Economic Development Council with the Chamber has reported nine new expanding developments that will add approximately 500 new jobs and $323 million in capital investments to the Gainesville-Hall County area.

If statistics are included from Jan. 2022, a total of 24 new capital investments have been announced alongside the influx of 1,700 new jobs and nearly $1.1 billion in investments, according to the EDC.

The council now believes this above-average performance will follow the region into 2024.

The Peach State has reportedly been ranked again as the number-one business environment in the country for the tenth consecutive year. Through that timeframe, Gainesville-Hall County has reportedly been the top job-producing metropolitan area in the entire state.

Several existing industry expansions on the horizon include improvements at Corporate Storage, CMS, Hydro, Mars Wrigley, Eskimo Cold Storage and Big Creek Foods. Many investments within these industries are prioritizing localizing the supply chain and adding automation technology.

CJ Foodville and RL Cold Logistics announced in 2023 new corporate facilities, which will continue their construction process in 2024.

Kubota, King’s Hawaiian, Cottrell, Mar-Jac Poultry and Agile Cold Storage all announced expansions in 2022, saw construction through 2023, and will begin operations sometime in 2024.

A Georgia Ports Authority board meeting earlier this month resulted in the approval of a $127 million contract that will kick off construction of the Blue Ridge Connector, previously known as the Inland Port, in the first quarter of 2024.

Located along Ga. 365, the rail depot will connect Northeast Georgia with the Port of Savannah. Local contractors will reportedly play a substantial role in the construction of the BRC, according to the Chamber.

The Georgia Ports Authority estimates operations will begin at the BRC in early 2026.

Hall County is the top contributor to economic value and employment related to agriculture in Georgia, the Chamber said Thursday. With an estimated $4.4 billion in agricultural production and approximately 17,643 jobs, Gainesville-Hall County has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of food processing per capita.

“The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development results are a reflection of the commitment from business and elected leaders to work together to achieve remarkable things,” Glennis Barnes, Area Manager for Georgia Power and 2023-24 Chair of the Chamber’s Economic Development Council said.  “Gainesville-Hall County’s long-term success in economic development is a product of community leadership working together on infrastructure planning and investment to support business growth.”

Moving into 2024, infrastructure development on Ga. 365, the Athens Highway corridor and the new 1,300-acre Gainesville 85 Business Park will provide space for new and expanding industries. 

Recent 12-month data provided by the Department of Labor reports that Gainesville-Hall County finished the year with an unemployment rate of 2.7%. With 110,579 people in the area workforce, Gainesville-Hall County is currently seeing an all-time high as of Oct. 2023.

“The Chamber provides a forum for the business community, educators and elected officials to work together on the issues that impact existing industries, small businesses, healthcare, retail and professional services,” Tim Evans, Sr. Vice President of Economic Development said.

Healthcare services in Gainesville-Hall County assist approximately 1.8 million North Georgia residents, according to the Chamber. A 2023 study by the Chamber determined that 483 regional healthcare providers employ 16,120 people and provide $1.26 billion in annual wages.

99% of the 5,326 businesses in Hall County are classified as small businesses, which is defined as a business with less than 500 employees. 93% of businesses in the county employ less than 50 people.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: gainesville, hall county, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Business, economy
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