Chris Carr, commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, was the keynote speaker at the March 25 annual meeting of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber telling members the state and county’s economies are thriving in today’s climate.
Carr, who lives in Dunwoody, also mentioned that controversies that have plagued DeKalb County in the past continue to hurt the entire county by scaring away potential new business ventures. He said it is crucial those in the public sector “do what’s right” to ensure the county’s brand is not tarnished.
“When people in the public sector do what’s right … we need people to stand with them publicly,” Carr said. “When you see those acting in disrepute, say no, we are better than this.”
“The headwinds in this county are very, very strong. But our brand has been harmed,” Carr said.
“Let’s commit to not doing things to give the media to focus on. We are in the middle of one of the best places in the world. In our county we have to be one,” he said.
Carr gave numbers on how Georgia is doing economically as well as how DeKalb County is doing
In the area of global commerce:
Since Governor Deal took office in January 2011 – there have been 1,962 locations/projects resulting in $25.3 billion investment and 143,020 jobs created, Carr said.
To break the numbers down even further for DeKalb County:
- 38 locations/projects
- $199,850,000 in investment
- 7,314 jobs
In international trade:
For the sixth consecutive year Georgia had a record-setting year for international trade in 2015, Carr said. Georgia is ranked the 11th largest exporting state and 7th largest importing state.
To break these numbers down for DeKalb:
- According to the Census Bureau, 2014 exports from DeKalb totaled $811 million.
- DeKalb ranks third among top exporting counties in Metro Atlanta.
- The state’s trade team has worked with more than 80 DeKalb County exporters in the past two years, helping them close dozens of export deals in diverse markets from Canada, and Colombia to Singapore, Paraguay and South Africa.
Tourism is a vital driver of Georgia’s economy – in almost every community in Georgia, Carr said.
2014 was another record-breaking year for the tourism industry, generating $57.1 billion in economic impact – up 6.7 percent from last year, he said.
Just over 10.2 percent of the state’s payroll workforce are employed by the tourism industry with more than 425,000 jobs.
To break it down even further, in 2014, DeKalb County’s tourism industry:
- Supported 12,645 jobs
- Generated $ 1.3 billion in direct travel spending
- Generated $ 37.3 million in local tax revenues
In Film and TV:
Georgia is one of the fastest growing entertainment production centers in the U.S. “We are ranked number 3 in the U.S. and number 5 in the world,” Carr said.
Georgia-made feature films & television productions generated an economic impact of more than $6 billion during fiscal year 2015, he said.
Recently, Dunwoody was the backdrop for the feature film “Baby Driver” starring Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx with filming took place near Perimeter Mall.
Also, “Miracles in Heaven” starring Jennifer Garner and currently in theaters shot several scenes in Dunwoody, he said.
Carr did not mention the numerous film and TV companies, corporations and even the NFL threatening to pull out of Georgia should Gov. Nathan Deal sign into law HB 757, the “religious liberty” bill despite his office being swamped by calls by businesses, according to a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Dunwoody chambers members did not seem concerned about the backlash and did not raise questions about the issue during a brief Q&A.
After the meeting, Carr would only say is that he is passing all the correspondence to the governor’s office.
“And the governor made his position clear a couple weeks ago,” Carr said. That statement from Gov. Deal is that he would reject any measure that “allows discrimination in our state in order to protect people of faith.” Deal has until May 3 to sign or veto HB 757.