Oconee County has an economy that is heavily influenced by the University of Georgia as it is located in nearby Athens. When coupled with other local, state, and federal government jobs, a large portion of Oconee County’s workforce is employed within the public sector (15.1%). Other notable sectors within the local economy include:
- Retail trade (12.5%),
- Construction (4.4%),
- Health care and social services (11.3%),
- Manufacturing (4.6%),
- Finance/insurance/real estate (5.7%), and
- Professional, scientific, and technical services (6.6%).
Some of Our Largest Employers
You may be familiar with some of Oconee County’s larger manufacturing employers. Benson’s, Inc. produces fruitcakes and specialty cakes and ZoomBait makes artificial lures for fishermen. Also, opened in 2013 is Caterpillar’s Building Construction Products operations where all of the world’s mini-hydraulic excavators and small track-type tractors will be produced by the company. There are also other gems that you may not be aware of such as Tifosi optics who makes and sells sunglasses for athletes; as well as Industrial Mechanical, Engineered Fabrication, or Taylor’s Iron, each of which do metal fabrication, industrial contracting, or industrial maintenance.
Highest Paying Sectors
Highest paying sectors within Oconee County include Finance and Insurance, Management of Companies, and Utilities.
Most Residents Have Professional Jobs
An Occupational Profile for Oconee County indicates that a large percentage of Oconee County’s residents are employed in some form of professional job. Unclassified professional workers, administrative support personnel, and management/business/financial workers comprise nearly 45 percent of all employed Oconee County residents.
Connections to Athens-Clarke County
Oconee County and neighboring Athens-Clarke County are uniquely connected due, in part, to the fact that over 1,500 Oconee County residents are employed at the University of Georgia. Oconee County residents represent the largest number of commuters to Athens-Clarke County for work, while Athens-Clarke County provides the most commuters into Oconee County on a daily basis.
The Artland of Georgia
Oconee County is also rich in the arts. The City of Watkinsville (the county seat) has been dubbed “The Artland of Georgia” highlighting the artistic talents and businesses within the area. From painters to potters to glass blowers and others, Oconee County has a rich tradition in creative economies.