Long County, historically and currently, is a rural, agricultural area. The principal farm crop was once cotton, but by the 1970s it had been replaced by tobacco, corn, soybeans, and cattle. The pine forests of the region have always played an important role in the economy.

Frontiersmen settling along the Altamaha River fastened logs together to form rafts that were floated downstream to the port of Darien for export, a practice that continued through the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, five large paper mills opened within a fifty-mile radius of Ludowici, and Long County's economy was dramatically improved by new employment opportunities and a new demand for timberlands.

The northern tip of the county is occupied by Fort Stewart, the largest military installation east of the Mississippi River. Covering 280,000 acres (spread over several counties), the post, which includes forestlands and hunting preserves, provides many civil service jobs to local residents. Altamaha Technical College, which offers workforce training, operates a satellite campus in Ludowici.