The number of jobs created by foreign-owned companies in Georgia is growing five times faster than general employment, according to a new report tracking the impact of international investment on the state and nation.
Over the five years ending in 2020, foreign-investment-supported jobs in Georgia grew by 21 percent to 276,900, against just 4 percent general job growth, according to the Global Business Alliance, an advocacy group composed of some 200 international companies operating in the U.S.
Georgia also outpaced the nation — across the U.S., foreign-fueled jobs grew 15 percent over the five-year period at a time when overall private-sector employment was basically flat.
It’s a story to which anyone watching Georgia’s growth story unfold can easily attest, and the disparity between FDI-backed jobs and general employment has likely widened further since 2020.
Some of the state’s largest projects ever — Hyundai’s $5.5 billion Meta Plant and its related suppliers, SK and Hyundai’s separate $5 billion battery plant, as well as the $2.6 billion Norway-based Freyr Battery and more than $2.5 billion Korean-owned Qcells’ solar panel project — were all announced in the last two years. Seven out of every 10 projects in the state’s economic development pipeline come from the electric-vehicle value chain, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported this week.
While there are some domestic EV and battery players, such as Rivian and battery recycler Ascend Elements, both of which are putting plants in Covington, Ga., the sector overall is marked by a disproportionate presence of foreign firms — one reason the Inflation Reduction Act is designed to incentivize the construction of plants domestically.
The GBA report, which uses data from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, reported that one-third of FDI-supported jobs, about 100,000 are in the manufacturing sector. The 276,900 jobs is up 53.3 percent since 2007.
Top investors by employment were among the state’s leading traditional partners — Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom — though a lag in the data, compiled every five years, precluded it from capturing the fact that Korean-owned firms have been the top job creators over the last few years, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The GBA report counts 1,240 international employers in the state, a much lower number of facilities than is normally reported by groups the Metro Atlanta Chamber and GDEcD. That’s likely because the BEA stats only track employers that posted $20 million in sales, losses or assets in a given year.
Georgia was in the middle of the pack around the South when it comes to the proportion of overall private-sector jobs — 7.3 percent — that depend on foreign investment.
Nationally, the GBA noted that foreign-owned companies accounted for $71 billion in R&D spending (about 13.1 percent of the total) and American workers at foreign-owned facilities produced 24 percent of U.S. exports. International companies pay 18 percent of corporate income taxes and support three times as many downstream jobs as they create in-house, thanks to longer supply chains.
See the list of foreign investors in the Global Business Alliance that operate across all 435 U.S. congressional districts.
Employment of Foreign Owned Affiliates in Georgia, by Country — according to the BEA
- Japan — 36,100 jobs
- Germany — 33,900
- United Kingdom — 33,000
- Canada — 32,400
- France — 24,500
- Netherlands — 22,800
- Switzerland — 15,500
See the Georgia fact sheet and national figures below: