South Carolina's strong economy and quality of life for residents draw companies from far and wide to set up shop.
South Carolina is a destination for growing businesses and the talented workers who make them successful, thanks to its outstanding quality of life, affordability, higher education options, strategic Eastern Seaboard location and outdoor-oriented lifestyle. As a result, business expansion is taking place at a record-setting pace throughout the state, which attracted 153 projects, representing $5.7 billion in capital investment and more than 18,000 new jobs in 2021.
“The state of South Carolina is an attractive location for industry due to a variety of circumstances,” says Jay Schwedler, president and CEO of Sumter Economic Development.
“A workforce that is growing, learning and acquiring new skill sets will position South Carolina for future growth.”
Jay Schwedler, President & CEO of Sumter Economic Development
These include South Carolina’s East Coast location, superb infrastructure, such as the Port of Charleston, and access to major markets and population centers within a two-day drive. In addition, the state’s business climate is welcoming to all companies, including startups, manufacturing and other industry sectors, he says.
“But mostly, a workforce that is growing, learning and acquiring new skill sets will position South Carolina for future growth,” Schwedler says. Growing sectors include advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, aerospace, agribusiness, automotive, distribution and logistics, electric vehicles and life sciences.
Foreign direct investment is a significant contributor to the state’s economic strength.
The Palmetto State is home to more than 1,200 operations of foreign-based firms, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Michelin. International businesses employ more than 140,000 workers in South Carolina.
The state’s location and infrastructure are unmatched, he says. The Port of Charleston is one of the deepest on the East Coast. Five interstate highways crisscross the state, and manufacturers and shippers have access to Class I railroads CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.
Also, Charleston International Airport, Myrtle Beach International Airport and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport link South Carolina to the rest of the United States and the world. Additionally, South Carolina is open for business and boasts a can-do workforce that’s up to any task.
“We have proven time and time again that this state is a great place to do business. For instance, no one thought we could build luxury BMWs, or how about wide-body Boeing jets? I’d say we proved them wrong,” Kosinski says.
Workforce training also adds to South Carolina’s economic development success. For example, its acclaimed readySC training program works with 16 technical colleges to prepare South Carolina’s workforce to meet the needs of employers.
Numerous companies recognize South Carolina’s appeal and choose to create or expand operations in the state. As a result, several prominent business announcements were made in 2021.
Google expanded in Berkeley County with a $500 million capital investment; Prestage Farms established operations in Kershaw County, creating 292 jobs and making a $150 million capital investment; Oshkosh Defense established operations in Spartanburg County, creating 1,000 jobs with a $155 million capital investment; Shaw Industries expanded operations in Aiken County, creating more than 300 jobs with approximately $400 million in capital investment; and Citadel Brands LLC established operations in Williamsburg County, creating 116 jobs with a more than $7.5 million capital investment.
Plus, Kosinski says there have been more announced projects since the pandemic hit than any other time in the history of Clarendon County. Examples include Provalus, which announced 105 jobs; Loctek, which invested $5 million and created 15 jobs; and Westinghouse, which announced an investment of approximately $24 million and 50 jobs.
Additionally, Chick-fil-A announced 50 jobs, and Palmetto Yacht Management invested $3.75 million and created 211 jobs.
Schwedler says South Carolina is perfect for business.
“The Sumter and Lee County area is representative of much of South Carolina. It combines historical assets, a still-thriving agribusiness sector, a growing and long-storied industrial portfolio of companies that have proven over many years that our region is an exemplary location for business, and a thriving military environment with Shaw Air Force Base providing enormous economic impacts,” he says. “All of these, coupled with our people, make this region an ideal location for a variety of industry sectors.”
Business Benefits Abound in South Carolina
South Carolina’s flourishing, pro-business economy creates a unique allure that many areas strive to achieve. The state has become a magnet for companies in various stages of growth and industries. The state also offers incentives that businesses can add to their list of reasons to open up shop. Here are seven statutory benefits businesses can expect:
- No property tax
- No local income tax
- No inventory tax
- No wholesale tax
- No sales tax on manufacturing machinery, industrial power or materials for finished products
- No unitary tax on worldwide profits
- A favorable corporate income tax structure
Other advantages include fast-track permitting, numerous shovel-ready sites, easy rail access, five interstates that make it easy to get from point A to point B, and workforce development programs that train workers to fill in-demand jobs. For more information on the state’s business incentives and advantages, visit sccommerce.com.
Bigger and Better Business Projects Are Coming Soon
After the pandemic turned the world upside down and brought things to a speedy halt, South Carolina has rallied and seen great business success. In particular, 2022 has been an excellent year for the state, especially regarding the number of announcements for significant business expansions and other capital projects.
Here are some notable announcements made in 2022:
- A leader in the wood-processing industry, BID Group is pouring $10.6 million into its existing operation in Dorchester County.
- BMW is upgrading its automaking operation in Spartanburg County with a new press shop that will cost $200 million and create 200 jobs.
- DC BLOX, an Atlanta-based firm that owns data centers in the Southeast, announced plans to expand its South Carolina presence with a $31.5 million data facility in Horry County.
- LaserForm & Machine Inc. is a metal fabrication and machine shop spending $5 million to expand in Richland County.
- China-based Fuyao Glass America is investing $34.5 million and creating 121 jobs at its existing glass-making plant in Greenville County.
- In Greenwood County, Mumford Industries announced an investment of $2 million and will add 33 jobs to expand its plastics recycling company.
- In Saluda County, Palmetto Gourmet Foods is spending $11.6 million to expand its operations, creating 73 jobs.
- Robert Thomas Iron Design in Charleston County is working on a $2.9 million expansion at its modern blacksmithing plant.
- Sportsman Boats Manufacturing is investing $8 million in and creating 75 jobs at its saltwater fishing boat plant in Dorchester County.
If you’d like to learn more about South Carolina, check out the latest edition of South Carolina Business Climate.