Georgia ports help create Bulloch jobs
In the two fiscal years before 2020, the number of jobs in Bulloch County directly linked to trade through Georgia's ports – including the third-largest by volume and fastest growing container port in the United States – reportedly grew by 11%, to 4,940 local jobs.
Those numbers were from a study that the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia did for the Georgia Ports Authority, updating to fiscal year 2019 from a previous study that showed the number of port-connected jobs in calendar year 2017. James C. "Jamie" McCurry Jr., the Ports Authority's chief administrative officer, presented these and other statistics on the ports and their impact on the economy as Nov. 16 guest speaker for the Statesboro Rotary Club.
“We actually had an increase of right at half a million jobs statewide that are associated with port activity one way or another, and specifically, in Bulloch County, what’s most interesting to me about this is you’ve got right at 5,000 jobs locally. ...," McCurry said. "So just in the two years prior you’ve increased by 11 percent.”
Spring 2020 brought a sudden drop in volume for the ports with the COVID-19 pandemic, he acknowledged. But McCurry reported that a rebound was underway by August to a record high volume for the Port of Savannah in October.
“We haven’t released our October numbers yet, but October was a our busiest month ever. …,” he said. “So it’s been a really crazy year. We do feel like when the year’s all said and done it will be a relatively flat year for us. We will probably see some modest growth in total, but it’s way up and down, it shows really the complete shutdown in trade globally.”
Meanwhile, the port's largest customer in Statesboro and Bulloch County, the Walmart Distribution Center, has actually hired more people during the pandemic, according to numbers supplied later by the Development Authority of Bulloch County.
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