July 13, 2024 7:44 am
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The Tale of Two Counties: Georgia’s Economic Snapshot

The recently released third-quarter 2023 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sheds light on notable trends in Georgia cities and counties. Hall, GA, takes center stage among the 360 largest U.S. counties, boasting a remarkable 5.4 percent over-the-year increase in employment, primarily fueled by an impressive 8.6 percent surge in the manufacturing sector.

Gainesville-Hall County solidifies its status as a thriving manufacturing hub. Kubota Manufacturing of America invested $190 million in a new facility, and Cottrell poured $157 million into a sprawling 600,000-square-foot manufacturing site, collectively generating hundreds of new jobs.

On the wages front, Clayton, GA, leads the charge with a 7.7 percent increase in average weekly wages during the same quarter, primarily attributed to a significant $141 gain (10.0 percent) in the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors. However, this industrial boom only translates into immediate benefits for workers across Georgia, as the overall data for the state reveals a 0.2 percent decrease in average weekly wages during the same period.

Georgia Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of Athens DA’s claim of open records exemption

In an upcoming ruling, Georgia’s Supreme Court will weigh in on a claim brought by Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, arguing that top prosecutors are exempt from the state’s open records laws. The case involves assertions that the trial court overlooked a constitutional provision in denying Gonzalez’s motion to dismiss an open records complaint, mirroring similar immunity arguments made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a separate case related to the 2020 presidential election interference.

Georgia public colleges to expand admissions testing requirements for fall 2026

Georgia colleges are reverting to requiring standardized test scores for all new applicants, signaling a shift from pandemic-era policies. Beginning in fall 2026, institutions including Augusta University, The University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech will mandate SAT or ACT scores, a decision unanimously approved by the Georgia Board of Regents.

Water-hogging data centers flagged in latest ‘Dirty Dozen’ environmental watchdog report

In its annual report released on Thursday, the Georgia Water Coalition spotlighted the detrimental effects of record economic growth on the state’s waterways, particularly in the coastal region, where a surge in state-of-the-art data centers poses a significant threat to Georgia’s rivers. The report urges urgent action from public officials and residents to advocate for policies that safeguard natural resources crucial for clean drinking water and outdoor recreation, emphasizing the need for coordinated water planning to address mounting environmental pressures.