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Industry: Major Manufacturers

The Savannah MSA’s manufacturing firms created approximately 20.1% of the area’s economic output as measured by GDP, accounting for $3.2 billion of output in 2014. As of mid-2015, the number of manufacturing establishments in the Savannah CMSA was 287 firms employing 19,398 workers. The average weekly wage was $1,552 for manufacturing establishments in the Savannah MSA.

Forecast: Manufacturing

Savannah’s show-case manufacturers continued to demonstrate strength through much of 2015. Gulfstream’s second quarter sales topped $1 billion, the best since 2008. This, in addition to the company’s then-$14 billion order book, supported 10,126 Gulfstream workers in the region who delivered 41 jets during the second quarter, an increase of 3 from the previous year. Additional test flights of the G500 continued in 2015. The aircraft is expected to be certified in 2017 and enter global service in 2018. Gulfstream also delivered its first G650ER to Qatar Airways, the first of as many as 30 expected to be delivered to the Qatar Airway’s private fleet. However, in December, Gulfstream announced a streamlining move to reduce its workforce by about 1,000 contract and direct employees. Overall, this will inhibit further growth in 2016 manufacturing employment, which had hit a fifteen-year high-water mark of 17,000 workers in 2015.

JCB celebrated its 15th year anniversary of its North American manufacturing headquarters in Savannah in 2015. During the first half of 2015, a new production line of backhoe loaders added roughly 50 jobs to the 600-plus JCB workforce already in place. The success of JCB in developing products to meet the needs of the Department of Defense ($206 million initial and $50 million subsequent contract) led the company to move its global Government and Defense division to Savannah in 2015 (and some 50 jobs with it). Roughly half of JCB’s production is shipped to foreign destinations through the Port of Savannah.  

Bryan County’s Caesarstone Technologies USA launched operations in mid-2015 and employs about 170 people in its first phase. The project has garnered accolades as “Deal of the Year” in 2014 and a “Regional Development Partnership Award” from CSX Transportation. The Development Authority of Bryan County was further recognized by CSX with a Partnershipping Award for development of the commerce park housing Caesarstone. A second expansionary phase for Caesastone expected in the near-term is projected to push employment to 320 workers and increase total investment at the facility to $220 million.  

The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority announced four projects in 2015, representing $82 million in direct capital investment and the potential to create over 150 jobs over the next several years. DRT America, a French-based company, plans a $43 million facility to begin construction in 2016 and open in 2017. Other projects include companies in solar energy, cold storage, and metal fabrication. Georgia Transformers, formerly known as EFACEC, produced 35 power transformers (costing from one to three million dollars) in 2014 and matched the number for 2015. That year, Governor Nathan Deal presented the Savannah Machinery Works facility with the 2015 Georgia Manufacturer of the Year award for medium-sized businesses. Currently, the company has 6 major contracts in place and is on track to add 150 to 200 workers starting in the second half of 2016 and eventually reaching full capacity and 500 workers by 2018.

In 2015, Liberty County completed a $9.7 million dollar natural gas pipeline servicing the Midway Industrial Park and Tradeport East Business Center. The project provides a substantial increase in capacity to meet the energy needs of existing and future employers in the area. In retail, Kroger has a $26 million investment planned that will triple the size of existing operations and double current employment.

Overall, 2015 was a year of relative strength for the region’s manufacturing sector. Over 700 jobs were added to manufacturing payrolls, a gain of 4.3%. Employment growth is expected to be more restrained in 2016, as the job-growth momentum developed by other manufacturers needs to be sustained to counter-balance Gulfstream’s announcement.   

Manufacturers, Savannah / Ft. Stewart / Hinesville CMSA


Product County Employees

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Jet aircraft, aerospace equipment CH 10,126
Georgia-Pacific Corporation/Fort Howard Group Paper products EF 1,100
SNF Chemicals LI 1,016
International Paper Paper Products CH 600
JCB Inc. Skidsteer Loaders, Backhoes CH 600
Brasseler USA

Dental Instruments

CH 420
Kerry Ingredients and Flavours Formulation, Food, Flavors CH 344
Mitsubishi Power Systems Turbines CH 320
Strength of Nature Global Hair Care Products CH 300
Weyerhaeuser Bleached pulp CH 285
Derst Baking Co. Baked goods CH 284
Chatham Steel Corporation Metal Manufacturing CH 265
Diamond Crystal Brand Refined Sugar CH 250
Interstate Paper Linerboard LI 210
Edwards Interiors Aerospace Aerospace parts/furnishings EF 206
International Greeting Cards Greeting Cards LI 200
Georgia Transformers Transformers EF 193
Roger Woods Foods Inc. Smoked Sausage, Meats CH 190
Arizona Chemical Compnay Chemicals CH 188
Caesarstone Technologies USA Quartz Surfaces BR 170
Alcoa Forgings and Extrusions Forgings LI 168
Johnson Matthey Process Technologies Catalyst Production CH 160
Lummus Corporation Cotton Ginning Equipment CH 156
EMD Chemicals Chemicals CH 151
Oracal, USA Industrial Tapes BR 150
The Industrial Company (TIC) SE Steel Fabrication CH 133
Coastal Concrete SE Ready Mix Concrete CH 125
River Street Sweets Gourmet Foods CH 125
Fuji Vegetable Oil Cooking Oils CH 106
Precision Machine of Savannah Aviation Machine Shop CH 103
DIRTT Environmental Solutions Sustainable Interior Construction CH 100
Source: Georgia Department of Labor, SEDA, Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, Development Authority of Bryan County, Liberty County Development Authority, retrieved 12/2015. Note: BR is Bryan County, CH is Chatham County, EF is Effingham County, LI is Liberty County.


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