The manufacturing sector was a source of growth in 2012. Recent years’ announcements of facility expansion totaling over 1 billion dollars in capital investment and nearly 4,000 workers are beginning to be realized in reported employment data. Approximately 1,000 manufacturing jobs have been added since mid-2010. Additional manufacturing growth is expected in 2013. The current manufacturing base in the Savannah MSA stands at approximately 14,600 members strong. With annual earnings of about $70,000, the anticipated job creation notably will contribute to the overall health of the region’s economy.
2012 was a year of noteworthy firsts for Savannah’s busy manufacturers. Gulfstream delivered its first large-cabin, long-range G650 business jet. This premium jet is the fastest certified civilian aircraft in production and demand is expected to be strong in 2013, as evidenced by the five-year, 200 order backlog. Additionally, Gulfstream delivered its first G280 in 2012, thus paving the way for additional growth in 2013. Mitsubishi Power systems delivered its first commercial gas turbine from its facility at the mega-site in Pooler. Given the recent surge of strength in the natural gas market as a source of energy, demand is expected to be strong in the utility industry for the plant’s output. Effingham County’s EFACEC plant delivered the first shell transformer constructed in the U.S. in 20 years. Given a multimillion dollar order for 20 transformers, the plant is expected to be busy throughout 2013. Strong financials in the North American market for JCB, boosted primarily by 17 versions of skid-steer loader produced at the Savannah plant, has resulted in the recent recruitment of 300 workers at the plant. Further, in an effort to develop labor skills in high demand, JCB established an apprenticeship program that is expected to grow into a 100-person-a-year pipeline for the manufacturer.
The Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce helps keep this vital sector of the economy strong. Working specifically through its Manufacturers Council, the Chamber serves as an advocate for pro-business policies at all levels of government and provides an information resource base for the area’s industrial community.