Ethanol industry supports more than 1,000 jobs in Ga.

By Erin Voegele | October 09, 2012

The 2012 Georgia Life Sciences Industry Analysis was released at Georgia Bio’s annual Georgia Life Sciences Summit in October. The analysis, titled “Shaping Infinity,” shows that one out of every 40 jobs in Georgia is tied to the life sciences industry, which includes the biofuel sector. The report, which was produced by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, found that the number of workers employed in Georgia’s life sciences industry increased by 1.5 percent from 2007-’10, while statewide employment dropped by 7.9 percent during the same period. Wages paid by companies in this sector also increased at a faster rate than wages paid by other companies within the state. The relative wage increases were 4.4 percent and 4.2 percent.

“The analysis shows that sustained efforts to grow and foster the development of Georgia’s life sciences provided their worth during the Great Recession and during the sub-par economic recovery that has persisted in its wake,” said the authors in the report. “Recent developments indicate that the prospects for Georgia’s life sciences cluster are improving.”

The report defines the life sciences industry as including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, as well as the agricultural, biofuels and bioenergy sectors. The report identified a total of eight biofuel companies active within Georgia. The report notes that six of these companies have been in business for 10 years or less. The vast majority, seven of the eight companies employ between one and 10 workers, while one employs a staff of 51 to 100.

Under the category of agricultural life sciences, ethanol production was found to support 206 direct jobs within Georgia, with a total employment impact of 1,026 jobs. The total impact of ethanol production on state gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to be $105.32 million, with a total labor income impact of $63.90 million.

Biofuel companies included in the survey include Agri Biofuels Inc., Algae Bioenergy Solutions, Bio-Plus Inc., Brettech Alternative Fuel Inc., C2 Biofuels Inc., First United Ethanol, Freedom Pines Biorefinery/LanzaTech, Georgia Alternative Fuels LLC, Georgia Biomass/RWE Innology, Middle Georgia Biofuels Inc., and Peat Fuel Company.