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Georgia’s Economy


Georgia’s Economy

Georgia's modern economy is as diverse as its population. The rapid industrialization since 1940 has helped Georgia to succeed nationally. Much of Georgia's economy is based on "agribusiness." This means that, while most Georgians do not work on farms, many of them work in jobs that depend on farm and forest products.

Georgia's economy is very diverse, however. The state is home to automobile and airplane factories. Georgia is rich in natural resources and ranks first in the number of acres of commercial forest. Livestock and poultry operations produce millions of dollars of income every year. Factories produce textiles, clothing, and electronic and transportation equipment. Georgia's goods are transported by road, by rail, and through the busy port in Savannah. Also, Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport is one of the busiest in the world.

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The Georgia State Budget
The Georgia Office of Planning and Budget is an agency of the state government. This office is responsible for preparing the state budget. The first step of the budget writing process is to review the requests from state agencies and institutions. Reviewing these requests and analyzing revenues that are expected to be collected by the government in the form of taxes and fees, the office writes a budget. This document is sent to the legislature for review. The budget is debated at every step of consideration within both the executive and legislative branches.

The state budget is a very important document for the citizens of Georgia. It determines how much money will be spent in various state agencies. A change in the budget might affect how much money is spent on a state park or on your education. Most years it is a struggle for the government to balance tax revenues with the need for public spending. In those rare years when there is excess revenue there is a "budget surplus." When there is more spending than revenue, there is a "budget deficit."

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Georgia's Top 5 Employers by Industry in 2000
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the top five leading employers in Georgia were:

  • Government 717,260
  • Retail Trade 536,974
  • Manufacturing 482,867
  • Health Care 373,041
  • Construction 305,831

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Georgia's Top 5 Leading Agricultural Crops in 2002
According to the Georgia Agricultural Statistics Service, Georgia's top five agricultural products in 2002 were:

  1. broilers (chickens): $1.94 billion
  2. chicken eggs: $356 million
  3. cotton: $347 million
  4. cattle: $264 million
  5. greenhouse/nursery: $261 million
Georgia ranked fifteenth nationally in the amount of income produced by agriculture. Ranking first nationally were Georgia's production of broilers, chicken eggs, cucumbers, peanuts, and pecans.

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Georgia’s Top Export Goods

Georgia has increased the amount of its exports in recent years. In 2003, Georgia's exports totaled $16.3 billion. Its exports have increased at a much faster rate than the national rate. It is estimated that 252,000 jobs were dependent on those exports in 2003. Georgia is now ranked fourteenth in the nation in its amount of exports.

While Georgia exports many agricultural goods, in 2003 its leading exports were manufactured items. Topping the list of exports were transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and chemicals. In a press release announcing Georgia's economic success, Governor Sonny Perdue said, "We are proud of our Georgia companies, who in spite of tough economic times are proven winners in the global marketplace."

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Gross State Product and Per Capita Income

Two key indicators of the strength of Georgia's economy are the gross state product and per capita personal income. The gross state product shows the value of the goods and services produced in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that in 2001 Georgia's gross state product was almost $400 billion. Per capita income shows the average income for each Georgia resident. The Department of Commerce reports that in 2002 Georgia's per capita personal income was nearly $29,500.

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Your Role as a Consumer

You and everyone around you are consumers. Consumers buy a wide variety of things—food, clothing, automobiles, movie tickets, and many more items. Some goods and services are needs. We need things like food and shelter to survive. Other goods and services are wants. These are things that help us live comfortably, but they are not things we need to survive.

As a consumer, you have various rights. Many private groups and organizations provide consumer protection. One of the oldest of these consumer groups is the Better Business Bureau. There are many regional and local better business bureaus in communities around Georgia. They provide information about local businesses and warn consumers about dishonest business practices. They also investigate consumer complaints.

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McGraw-Hill/Glencoe
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