Study: Marietta leads Cobb cities in jobs
by Jon Gillooly
August 14, 2012 12:16 AM | 2140 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A recently published university study shows that Marietta is not the bedroom community of Atlanta that some may think.

A study released in June by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University indicates Marietta is one of the state’s seven leading job centers.

Within Cobb, Marietta leads the other five cities in the number of jobs, though is still behind the unincorporated portion of the county.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said the study will be a good tool he can use in marketing Marietta.

“Every time now that we get to compete to bring a nice business here, this will be a nice thing to show people,” Tumlin said.

Not surprisingly, the study found the city of Atlanta has 8.1 percent of all jobs in the state. That’s followed by Sandy Springs at 2.24 percent, Savannah at 2.06 percent, Columbus at 1.76 percent, Alpharetta at 1.49 percent, Marietta at 1.42 percent, and Macon at 1.08 percent.

“Macon is going to pass us because they just consolidated with their county, but when you think of how many good-sized cities there are in the state, I think it shows we’re a happy, balanced community,” Tumlin said.

Marietta has 18.1 percent of all jobs inside Cobb County, according to the study. Smyrna is next at 6.6 percent; followed by Kennesaw at 3.6 percent, Acworth at 1.5 percent, Austell at 0.7 percent and Powder Springs at 0.6 percent.

Unincorporated Cobb makes up about 70 percent of the jobs in the county. Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton attributes that in part to the Cumberland and Town Center Area community improvement districts.

But population-wise, Marietta is carrying its own weight, Bruton said. The 2010 Census found 56,579 people living in the city of Marietta, and total Cobb County population of 688,078.

“When you look at the population of Marietta … our percentage of jobs created is more than double our population percentage,” Bruton said. “Our businesses are producing over 18 percent of the jobs that are in the county, but our population is only 8.2 percent of the county total. Marietta actually has more jobs per resident than the City of Atlanta. This study confirms that Marietta is not a bedroom community but is instead a distinct hub of strong economic activity that is important to Cobb County and the region.”

The study also looked at the pay level of the jobs, categorizing them by low-paying (below $35,000), mid-range ($35,000 to $50,000) and premium (above $50,000).

Of the jobs in Marietta, 25 percent are classified as low-paying, 50 percent are mid-range and 24 percent are premium, according to the study.

By comparison, the study reported that of the jobs in Kennesaw, 39 percent are low-paying, 34 percent are mid-range and 27 percent are premium.

In Acworth, 69 percent are low-paying, 21 percent mid-range and 10 percent premium.

“The low-paying jobs are the ones where people are just barely getting by,” Bruton said. “You want to provide jobs … for people to be able to support their families, and that’s in your mid-range to your premium. We’re doing better than anybody who is a larger city in Cobb.”

Tumlin said the city is fortunate to be the county seat.

“From where I’m sitting (in the mayor’s office at City Hall), I’m looking at the judges and solicitors and just how many people are employed in the county government,” Tumlin said. “All the Cobb County government and all the county school board has to be in the county seat, so we’ve got some dynamite people that are in that upper category that work here.”

There is also WellStar Health System, Southern Polytechnic State University, Life University and Chattahoochee Technical College, he said.

Bruton said the study shows Marietta has a good mix of residents and commerce.

“It shows that we’re very strong as far as having two very important parts of our community that contribute a lot to the county and contribute a lot to the state and allow us to spread the tax base,” Bruton said. “It’s very positive for the community. You have some other cities where a lot of people may live there but they all have to drive long distances to go to work. There are a lot of bedroom communities around us in the metro area, but I think we’re showing by the job stats that we’re not.”
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