Sea Island is a growth engine for Glynn County’s economy, Terry experts say

Sea Island Company has a $670 million impact on the local economy in revenue benefiting Glynn County, according to two University of Georgia economists.

A study conducted by Jeff Humphreys and Beata Kochut of the Selig Center for Economic Growth within the Terry College of Business, measured how economic activity by Sea Island Company, its members, guests and team members contributes to the county’s financial health. These activities include spending at Sea Island by its guests and members; major capital projects such as construction (most recently, a new 63-room wing at the Cloister that opened April 1); and spending by Sea Island’s members and guests in Glynn County, outside the boundaries of Sea Island (such as restaurants, retailers and contractors).

“Sea Island generates significant, sustainable, annual economic impacts for Glynn County,” said Humphreys, director of the Selig Center. “It’s vital to the area in a number of measurable ways.”

The study found that Sea Island is responsible for:

  • Approximately $670 million in sales (output or gross receipts, nearly 11 percent of Glynn County’s total output)
  • Approximately $370 million in production, or contribution to region’s GDP (gross domestic product)
  • 6,254 jobs (13.5 percent of all the jobs in Glynn County)
  • More than $200 million in labor income (earnings)
  • More than $22 million in tax revenues for local government

Benefits to the community are both direct and indirect, Humphreys said.

“Each Sea Island job in turn is responsible for another 2.3 non-Sea Island jobs in the community, thus accounting for nearly one in seven jobs. Every dollar spent by a Sea Island member, guest or team member generates an additional 31 cents for Glynn County.”

This is referred to by economists as a “multiplier effect,” which means that spending by consumers associated with Sea Island creates positive ripples through the economy. For example, an employee who eats lunch at a local restaurant is helping sustain and create jobs for that business. Similarly, when a Sea Island guest or member shops at a nearby store, they are helping to support that local retailer and paying sales taxes that go into county coffers.

The same “multiplier effect” applies to other local businesses and community organizations, from restaurants to retailers to banks, real estate agencies and independent contractors. Of the nearly $670 million in economic impact, multiplier spending accounts for nearly $160 million.

Humphreys said that not only do these estimates demonstrate the importance of Sea Island as a “pillar of Glynn County’s economy—creating jobs, higher incomes and production of goods and services,” but they also point out Sea Island’s ongoing contributions that make Glynn County a desirable place to live and work, as it has for the last 88 years.

Noting the importance of Humphreys’ findings, Sea Island President Scott Steilen said, “Dr. Humphreys’ work affirms that Sea Island has been meeting its pledge as a major employer and strong corporate citizen to continue to provide good jobs and to support our community— helping both our local businesses and our nonprofit organizations.”

The company is proud of its team member volunteers who donate thousands of hours every year to community organizations, Steilen said, adding, “It is our intent to maintain, and hopefully enhance, the legacy of Sea Island’s contributions to this community.”