“This is an extraordinary day for our entire state, and a game-changer for Clarke, Oconee and surrounding counties throughout Northeast Georgia,” Gov. Nathan Deal said in a news release. “The excitement and promise of today’s announcement are why we’re fighting so hard to make Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business. Caterpillar will find a happy home here, and our state’s logistics, workforce, speed and efficiency will give the company an edge in the global marketplace.”Caterpillar will break ground on the million-square-foot plant in March and start production in 2013, employing 800 people initially, according to Athens-Clarke County. Wages will be at or above the median incomes of $37,596 in Clarke County and $33,746 in Oconee County. Some jobs will require only a high school diploma; others will require a two-year or four-year college degree. Athens Tech will train plant workers.
In addition to the 1,400 factory jobs, officials said Caterpillar will indirectly create another 2,800 jobs through its $57 million payroll and $39 million in increased retail spending, generating $1 million in annual sales tax revenue.
“Investments in high output manufacturing operations like the new Caterpillar facility to be built in Athens can be a huge benefit to the local and regional economy,” said Sharon Younger, president of the research firm Younger Associates. “Based on the production capacity of the new plant, I estimate the total economic impact to reach $2.4 billion per year as key suppliers locate in the region and the supply chain matures.”The factory will make tractors for global distribution and hydraulic excavators for customers in North and South America. Caterpillar now makes those products at a facility in Japan.
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