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Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 3:08pm

Manufacturing Gaining Jobs In GA

Georgia’s hard-hit manufacturing industry is starting to come back. The state has gained 12,800 manufacturing jobs since the industry reached bottom in 2010.

Georgia has a long way to go to regain the jobs lost since 1998, when manufacturing was at its peak.

Metro areas are seeing the biggest initial gains. Some recent announcements include Baxter International’s plans to build a plasma factory in Covington and Caterpillar’s plans to build small tractors and excavators in Athens.

Mercer University economist Roger Tutterow says the prospects for non-metro areas are mixed.

“There are some pockets around the state that are still under a lot of pressure. In the northwest quadrant the carpet industry is so closely tied to the construction side of the economy that it’s not realistic to expect them to rebound strongly in the near term. Over the longer run you can be more optimistic there.”

State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says Georgia has gained 6 thousand manufacturing jobs over the past year.

“Really the sectors we’re seeing grow the most are more of your durable goods, like for example you know, heavy equipment and things like that.”

Butler credits the increase to a new law exempting manufacturers from a sales tax on energy.