Atlanta is one of ten U.S. cities classified as a "beta world city" by a 2008 study at Loughborough University, and ranks fourth in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries, behind New York City, Houston, and Dallas. Several major national and international companies are headquartered in Atlanta or its nearby suburbs, including three Fortune 100 companies: The Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, and United Parcel Service in adjacent Sandy Springs. The headquarters of AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular Wireless), the second largest mobile phone service provider in the United States, is located near Lenox Square. Newell Rubbermaid is one of the most recent companies to relocate to the metro area; in October 2006, it announced plans to move its headquarters to Sandy Springs. Other headquarters for some major companies in Atlanta and around the metro area include Arby's, Chick-fil-A, Earthlink, Equifax, Gentiva Health Services, Georgia-Pacific, Oxford Industries, RaceTrac Petroleum, Southern Company, SunTrust Banks, Mirant, and Waffle House. In early June 2009, NCR Corporation announced that they will relocate its headquarters to the nearby suburb of Duluth, Georgia. First Data is also a large corporation who announced in August 2009 that they would move its headquarters to Sandy Springs. Over 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies have a presence in the Atlanta area, and the region hosts offices of about 1,250 multinational corporations. As of 2006 Atlanta Metropolitan Area ranks as the 10th largest cybercity (high-tech center) in the US, with 126,700 high-tech jobs.
Delta Air Lines is the city's largest employer and the metro area's third largest. Delta operates one of the world's largest airline hubs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and, together with the hub of competing carrier AirTran Airways, has helped make Hartsfield-Jackson the world's busiest airport, both in terms of passenger traffic and aircraft operations. The airport, since its construction in the 1950s, has served as a key engine of Atlanta's economic growth.
Atlanta has a sizable financial sector. SunTrust Banks, the seventh largest bank by asset holdings in the United States, has its home office on Peachtree Street in downtown. The Federal Reserve System has a district headquarters in Atlanta; the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which oversees much of the deep South, relocated from downtown to midtown in 2001. Wachovia announced plans in August 2006 to place its new credit-card division in Atlanta, and city, state and civic leaders harbor long-term hopes of having the city serve as the home of the secretariat of a future Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Atlanta is also home to a growing Biotechnology sector, gaining recognition through such events as the 2009 BIO International Convention.
The auto manufacturing sector in metropolitan Atlanta has suffered setbacks recently, including the closure of the General Motors Doraville Assembly plant in 2008, and the shutdown of Ford Motor Company's Atlanta Assembly plant in Hapeville in 2006. Kia, however, has opened a new assembly plant near West Point, Georgia.
The city is a major cable television programming center. Ted Turner began the Turner Broadcasting System media empire in Atlanta, where he bought a UHF station that eventually became WTBS. Turner established the headquarters of the Cable News Network at CNN Center, adjacent today to Centennial Olympic Park. As his company grew, its other channels—the Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TNT, Turner South, Turner Classic Movies, CNN International, CNN en Español, HLN, and CNN Airport Network—centered their operations in Atlanta as well (Turner South has since been sold). Turner Broadcasting is a division of Time Warner. The Weather Channel, owned by a consortium of NBC Universal, Blackstone Group, and Bain Capital, has its offices in the Cumberland district northwest of downtown Atlanta.
Cox Enterprises, a privately held company controlled by James C. Kennedy, his sister Blair Parry-Okeden and their aunt Anne Cox Chambers, has substantial media holdings in and beyond Atlanta; it is headquartered in the city of Sandy Springs. Its Cox Communications division, headquartered in unincorporated DeKalb County, is the third-largest cable television service provider in the United States; the company also publishes over a dozen daily newspapers in the United States, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. WSB—the flagship station of Cox Radio—was the first AM radio station in the South.
Unincorporated DeKalb County is also home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adjacent to Emory University, with a staff of nearly 15,000 (including 6,000 contractors and 840 Commissioned Corps officers) in 170 occupations, including: engineers, entomologists, epidemiologists, biologists, physicians, veterinarians, behavioral scientists, nurses, medical technologists, economists, health communicators, toxicologists, chemists, computer scientists, and statisticians. Headquartered in DeKalb County, CDC has 10 other offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. In addition, CDC staff are located in local health agencies, quarantine/border health offices at ports of entry, and 45 countries around the world. Originally established in 1946 as the Communicable Disease Center, its primary function was to combat malaria, the deep southeast being the heart of the U.S. malaria zone at the time.
Atlanta is the headquarters of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region II.