Land Prices Soar As The Warehouse Boom Transforms Traditional Farming, Factory Communities
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A boom in warehouse construction fueled in large part by e-commerce is bringing sweeping change to municipalities that once relied on farms and factories to fuel the local economy.
As companies like Amazon and FedEx develop large fulfillment centers in areas like Jackson County, Georgia, which is roughly 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, it has led to an increasingly tight labor market. This has subsequently put pressure on employers to raise wages, Bloomberg reports.
In December, unemployment in Jackson Country was sitting at 3.3%, nearly 1% less than the national average. To attract and retain employees, companies have increased wages. A general laborer now makes between $12 and $13 an hour, which is approximately 30% more than what most retail sales reps or cashiers in the state bring home.
The influx in large warehouses has also caused the cost of industrial land to skyrocket. Between 2013 and 2017, developers built nearly 850M SF of warehouse space — twice as much as in 2012. While an acre of land just outside of a metro area cost about $50K in 2015, it now goes for more than $100K, according to Bloomberg.
To cope with the changes, many fulfillment centers are moving farther outside of metro areas, but this can make it even more difficult to find employees that can withstand the long commutes. Employers like Amazon have started offering gift certificates for those who carpool or shuttles to employees who cannot afford to commute, ensuring the talent pool will not be compromised by moving farther out of city centers.