The region has a diversified economy which generally mirrors the US economy, including manufacturing, hospitality, retail, military, distribution, health care, and education. The Savannah Region includes the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport which serves 16 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. Non-stop flights go to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Washington, NYC, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville and Providence (some of those are seasonal).
- Port of Savannah
The State of Georgia operates the Port of Savannah, the 4th largest container port in the US and 35th in the world. It is the center for the extensive logistics and warehousing infrastructure surrounding this rail-linked facilities of the Georgia Port Authority.
The most significant manufacturng employers include Gulfstream Aerospace with 10,000 employees on or near the airport. JC Bamford, a British company which has it US assembly plant producing backhoes and other similar pieces of equipment, including innovative products for military application. Mitsubishi manufactures very large turbines for gas fired power generation. Several chemical and paper plants are located along the Savannah River. Colonial Oil is a major petroleum distributor and Kinder-Morgan operates pipelines and a major terminal for exporting and importing liquified natural gas.
Hunter Army Airfield was previously a Air Force SAC base and it 15,000 ft runway is used for troop deployments from nearly Ft. Stewart in Hinesville. The Coast Guard also has operations in Savannah to support the port and to fly the coast for search & rescue and enforcement.
There are two major medical facilities in Savannah. Memorial Health is a class 5 trauma center and the other organization is comprised of St. Joseph’s hospital and Candler hospital. Mercer University operates a medical college in Memorial. The largest program on the Georgia Southern – Armstong campus in Savannah is it medical technology school.
Georgia Southern has its main campus in Statesboro and a second campus in Savannah. Savannah College of Art and Design is located in the historic area of Savannah and focuses on creative professions such as graphic design, art, architecture and other skills. Savannah State University is a historically black college, the first of its kind in Georgia begun in 1890. Georgia Tech has a facility for continuing education.
For the Region, 18% of the employees work with companies of 1,000 employees or more while 53% work for companies under 100 employees.
Effingham County Major Employers
Chatham County Major Employers
Bulloch County Major Employers
Bryan County Major Employers
Gulfstream Aerospace Overview
Memorial Health MMC
St. Joseph’s – Candler Medical Center SJC
Counties in the Region
Chatham County includes the City of Savannah and residential areas include Skidaway Island, Isle of Hope, Wilmington Island, Historic District, Victorian District, Ardsley Park, Thunderbolt and others which are what is call “unincorporated areas”. Incorporated cities with municipal governments and police departments within Chatham County include Thunderbolt, Tybee Island, Pooler, Garden City, Bloomingdale, Port Wentworth and Savannah. Discussions are under way to incorporate Skidaway Island as a city and to incorporate Wilmington Island & Whitemarsh Island as a city.
Of the almost 200,000 employees in the region, 78% work in Chatham County (though they may not live there).
Effingham, adjacent to Chatham on its north-west side, is a residential and commercial area of 50,000 – which some would call a “bedroom community” for Savannah.
Bulloch, with a population of 70,000, includes the City of Statesboro which is the location of the primary campus of Georgia Southern University, a 54 minute drive to downtown Savannah.
Of the four counties in the region Bulloch has had the most growth in employees over the past 10 years of 35% compared to the average of 12% for the region. It ranks second among the four counties in number of employees with 26,000.
Bryan is on the southern edge of Chatham County, has a population of 10,000 with most located inside the City of Richmond Hill.
Bluffton SC is located on the May River and is divided between “old Bluffton” and “new Bluffton which is comprised of a number of gated communities. Bluffton is a 36 minute drive to downtown Savannah. The main highway into Hilton Head Island runs through Bluffton and therefore extensive retail and food service choices are available in Bluffton. Bluffton/Hilton has an incubator/innovation center called the Don Ryan Center.