With a $304 billion economy, the Atlanta metropolitan area is the eighth biggest in the US and the seventeenth largest in the globe. Corporate activities account up a significant sector of Atlanta’s economy, with several businesses establishing regional, national, or worldwide headquarters in the city. Atlanta is home to the country’s third highest concentration of Fortune 500 firms, including The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, Chick-fil-A, UPS, and Newell-Rubbermaid. Over 75% of Fortune 1000 businesses have operations in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and around 1,250 international organizations have offices in the region. Numerous firms are attracted to Atlanta due to the city’s educated workforce; over 43% of individuals in the city of Atlanta have a college degree, compared to 27% nationally.
Atlanta was founded as a railroad town, and logistics continues to be a significant part of the city’s economy to this day. Atlanta is a significant rail junction and is home to Norfolk Southern and CSX’s large classification yards. Since its inception in the 1950s, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has Atlanta International Airport has been a critical engine of the city’s economic development. Delta Air Lines, the city’s biggest employer and the third largest in the metro region, runs the world’s largest airline hub at Hartsfield-Jackson, contributing to the airport’s status as the world’s busiest in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft operations. Atlanta has developed into a center for diplomatic missions, in part owing to the airport; as of 2012, the city has 25 general consulates, the seventh-highest concentration of diplomatic missions in the United States.
Atlanta’s economy is likewise heavily reliant on the media. The city is a significant hub for cable television programming. Ted Turner built the Cable News Network (CNN) and Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) headquarters in Atlanta. The city is home to Cox Enterprises, the country’s third-largest cable television provider and publisher of more than a dozen major American newspapers. The Weather Channel is located in Cobb County, Georgia, and is owned by NBCUniversal, Bain Capital, and The Blackstone Group.
Atlanta’s economic output has shifted toward information technology, an economic sector that encompasses publishing, software development, entertainment, and data processing. Indeed, owing to the city’s expanding technological industry, Atlanta has been dubbed the Silicon peach. Atlanta has the fourth-largest concentration of information technology employment in the United States in 2013, with 85,000 positions. Atlanta is also the sixth fastest growing city for information technology jobs, with employment increasing by 4.8 percent in 2012 and almost 9 percent, or 16,000 positions, over the last three years. Atlanta’s cheaper expenses and trained workforce attract information technology businesses.
Atlanta has become a center for film and television production in large part due to a statewide tax incentive enacted in 2005, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, which provides qualified productions with a transferable income tax credit equal to 20% of all in-state costs for film and television investments of $500,000 or more. Turner Studios, Pinewood Studios (Pinewood Atlanta), Tyler Perry Studios, Williams Street Productions, and the EUE/Screen Gems soundstages are among the film and television production facilities in Atlanta. In 2015, film and television production pumped $6 billion into Georgia’s economy, with the majority of productions originating in Atlanta. Atlanta has established a reputation as a hub for horror and zombie-related films, with Atlanta magazine naming the city the “World’s Zombie Capital.”
Atlanta’s economy has been disproportionately damaged by the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession, garnering a rating of 68th out of 100 American cities in a September 2014 survey due to a high unemployment rate, dropping real income levels, and a depressed property market. Between 2010 and 2011, Atlanta had a 0.9 percent decline in employment and a 0.4 percent increase in income. Though unemployment had decreased to 7% by late 2014, it remained higher than the national average of 5.8%. Atlanta’s housing market has suffered as well, with house values plummeting by 2.1 percent in January 2012 to depths not seen since 1996. In February 2012, the average house price in Atlanta plummeted 17.3 percent year over year, the greatest yearly decline in the index’s history for any city. Home values have plummeted, prompting some experts to declare Atlanta to be the worst housing market in the nation. Nonetheless, Atlanta was included on Forbes magazine’s list of the Best Places for Business and Careers in August 2013.