Business & Economy Georgia Impact Society & Culture

Institute of Government survey provides insight into region’s manufacturing sector

Athens, Ga. – A recent survey of manufacturers in the 11-county area surrounding Athens indicates that larger manufacturers are generally more optimistic about increased employment and offer employees greater benefits than their smaller counterparts.

“The Report of the Wage and Benefit Survey of Manufacturers in Eleven Northeast Georgia Counties” provides information about 113 nonexempt (overtime-eligible) job categories, including wage information, employees’ access to childcare and the extent of wellness programs and educational assistance available for workers.

The study, conducted by the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute of Government, analyzes survey results from 72 employers in Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Hall, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton counties.

The larger the manufacturer, the more they are generally optimistic about increased employment over the next six months, the study showed. Large manufacturers—companies that employ 75 or more people—also are more likely than smaller firms to have noticed increases in the number of candidates applying for positions in the past six months.

Nearly all large companies and medium-size manufacturers (those with 15-74 workers) currently offer health insurance to employees; however, a minority of small companies, those with 14 or fewer employees, provides health benefits.

The prevalence of other benefits also increases with the size of the manufacturer. For example, almost all large and medium-size manufacturers offer retirement plans while most small manufacturers do not. Paid sick leave is more likely to be offered as the size of the manufacturer increases. A large majority of manufacturers of all sizes provide employees with paid vacation.

“The report on the survey results, in addition to giving manufacturers timely insights into their local area’s labor market, provides useful information to local governments, development authorities, chambers of commerce and others concerned with economic development,” said Rob Gordon, manager of the Institute of Government Economic Development and Fiscal Analysis Unit. “As communities work to attract quality manufacturing jobs, they will have a better understanding of the dynamics of the region’s job market.”

Manufacturers approached the Institute about conducting the survey through the Athens Area Manufacturers Council, a collaboration between the University of Georgia and Athens Technical College. UGA researchers worked with a core group of Athens-area manufacturers, including Automated Manufacturing Solutions, Caterpillar, Eaton and Johnson & Johnson, to design the survey instrument and administer it to companies. The Selig Center for Economic Growth at UGA provided additional survey development support.

The full report is available for purchase at

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government is a Public Service and Outreach unit of the University of Georgia that conducts training, technical assistance and applied research to help state and local governments operate efficiently and effectively and provide improved service to the public.