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Blog Category: Georgia

Exports, Foreign Direct Investment, and Greener Fuel to Jumpstart Georgia’s Economy

Image of Georgia biomass facility

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine

As they search for opportunities to grow their economies and create jobs, no region in the United States can really choose to ignore the global marketplace—in fact, it just makes common sense. The latest export numbers bear this out: Since 2009, record-breaking levels of U.S. exports have supported an additional 1.2 million American jobs. And in March, the latest figures show that U.S. exports increased 2.9 percent, the largest increase since July 2011.

The benefits of increased engagement with world markets is something that the city of Waycross, Georgia, has experienced firsthand. In 2010, local authorities successfully concluded negotiations with a German energy firm, RWE Innogy, to build a new $135 million wood pellet manufacturing plant in the Waycross–Ware County Industrial Park. The pellets, which are produced from locally-sourced wood, are used as a cleaner-burning substitute for coal in the generation of electricity. A challenge was making sure that these pellets could be shipped quickly and cost effectively to major transportation hubs. A $1.3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) resolved this by funding the construction of a new rail spur, ensuring that the pellets could be shipped to the port of Savannah and from there to overseas buyers.

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank Visits the Port of Savannah

Senator Johnny Isakson, GPA Board Chairman Alec Poitevint, Acting Deputy Secretary Blank, Senator Saxby Chambliss

Acting Deputy U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank visited Savannah, Ga. yesterday, where she received a briefing on the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) and toured the Port of Savannah with U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and representatives from the Georgia Ports Authority. Following the tour, Blank delivered remarks on the importance of projects like SHEP, an efficient, high-tech export engine that will help U.S. businesses compete globally, as part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI).

Expanding America’s ports means expanding America’s exports. And more exports mean more jobs. Exports already support nearly 10 million U.S. jobs, including one in three manufacturing jobs, and positions supported by exports pay about 15 percent more on average.

The president launched the NEI in 2009 with the goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014, supporting several million jobs. U.S. exports increased 14.5 percent in 2011 to a record $2.1 trillion. That’s the second year of double-digit growth, ahead of schedule to achieve the goal of NEI.

Secretary Locke Announces ARRA Grants to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Expand Economic Growth

Recovery Act logo. Click to go to Commerce Department Recovery Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 23 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs and improve education and healthcare cross the country. The grants will increase broadband access and adoption in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and West Virginia. (More)

Census: Texas Gains Most in Population, Last Estimates Before 2010 Census Counts

Map of USA (Department of Commerce). Click for larger map.

Texas gained more people than any other state between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009 (478,000), followed by California (381,000), North Carolina (134,000), Georgia (131,000) and Florida (114,000), according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates. “This is the final set of Census Bureau state population estimates that will be published before the official 2010 Census population counts to be released next December," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. "We are focused now on ensuring we get a complete and accurate count in 2010." (More) (2010 Census)

Secretary Locke Announces $25.4 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access to Maine, Vice President Announces $183 Million in 17 States

Recovery Act logo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the University of Maine announcing a $25.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to help bring high-speed Internet access to underserved communities across the state. The project, and the private investments it will enable, has the potential to connect one-fifth of all Maine households to a high-speed, 21st century Internet backbone. Earlier in the day in Georgia, Vice President Joe Biden also announced an initial $183 million to expand broadband access in 17 states. (More) (Remarks) (VP Biden release)

NOAA and Partners Announce South Atlantic Alliance

Image of diver approaching underwater marine life. Click for larger image.

Representatives from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida announced the formation of a partnership to better manage and protect ocean and coastal resources, ensure regional economic sustainability, and respond to disasters such as hurricanes. The announcement was made during the annual meeting of the Coastal States Organization in Charleston, S.C. (More)

Secretary Locke, Mayor Franklin Announce 2010 ACF to be Held in Atlanta

Americas Competitiveness Forum 2009 logo. Click to visit ACF Web site.

At the closing of the 2009 Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Chile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin announced that the United States will host the next ACF in Atlanta in the fall of 2010. “I look forward to working with the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the local business community and other stakeholders to convene the 2010 ACF in the Peach State,” Locke said. “The ACF is a unique opportunity for the Americas to work together on issues critical to the economic prosperity of the region.” (More) (ACF 2009 Web site)

Secretary Locke Announces Over $11.9 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Seven States

EDA seal.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced over $11.9 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help seven states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will make water treatment facility upgrades in Kentucky; help build an access road to serve an industrial park in Minnesota; help make roadway updates to improve access to an industrial park in Illinois; help build water and sewer infrastructure needed to spur business development in Georgia; convert an existing building for use as a regional vocational training facility in Idaho; expand an existing dock and install a crane to boost the commercial fishing sector in Alaska, and extend an avenue and provide water infrastructure in Washington state.