South Carolina’s World-Class Business Environment
17 Sep, 2018By: Governor Henry Dargan McMaster
South Carolina continues to build a global reputation for being a state that is just right for business, but one thing that sets the state apart from others is the way its people and companies come together to tell the story about what’s right with the Palmetto State.
Just Right for Business
Thanks to its world-class business environment, skilled workforce, solid transportation infrastructure and close proximity to manufacturing firms in diverse industries, South Carolina has succeeded in attracting substantial capital investment from around the world to its borders. Strategically located between North Carolina and Georgia in the Southeastern United States, and situated halfway between New York City and Miami, South Carolina offers unparalleled value to companies seeking the ideal business location.
Manufacturing On a Roll
Ranked among the top states in the nation for exports and a leader in foreign direct investment (FDI), South Carolina is home to more than 1,200 international firms. Foreign affiliated companies account for seven percent of private employment in South Carolina. Leading the charge in the manufacturing revival, South Carolina’s manufacturing industry experienced a more than 16 percent growth in output from 2010 to 2017, evolving into a growing technology-centric, capital-intensive sector. In 2017, the state won 157 economic development projects, accounting for $5.24 billion in capital investment and 18,445 new jobs.
Low Cost of Doing Business
South Carolina businesses thrive thanks to lower operating and capital costs. As a right-to-work state with the lowest unionization rate in the country, South Carolina businesses can rely on a stable, efficient workforce at competitive wage rates and free from work stoppages. The average salary ranks the eighth-lowest in the nation.
Business-friendly regulations and smart investments in energy infrastructure give South Carolina the region’s most affordable power costs. Industrial power costs in the state average only 5.7 cents per kilowatt hour, seven percent less than the Southeast average.
Workforce and Education
Workforce development is about getting the right people in the right jobs at the right time, and the state’s programs for preparing workers are an essential part of its attractive incentives. Higher education opportunities include three internationally recognized university research institutions. Additionally, the South Carolina Technical College System is comprised of 16 community-based technical colleges throughout the state and is home to the award-winning readySC™ program offering customized workforce training for eligible companies. Since its inception, the program has trained more than a quarter of a million employees and has served more than 2,000 companies.
South Carolina’s central U.S. East Coast location, coupled with an integrated transportation system of highways, airports, seaports and railways, ensures companies can easily reach every one of their destinations, efficiently sending and receiving shipments around the world. Served by five interstate highways, the eighth-busiest container port in the U.S. – with numerous worldwide shipping connections and the capability to support post-Panamax vessels, two inland ports, two Class I rail carriers and three major airports, South Carolina offers manufacturers numerous means of reaching customers and suppliers around the globe.
For the eighth consecutive year, the State of South Carolina set a record for total export sales in 2017, as the state’s exporters sold $32.2 billion in products in more than 190 countries around the world. This sales figure represents a 2.9 percent increase over the 2016 total and ranks 16th among all states.
Favorable Tax Climate and Incentives
The Palmetto State has a business-friendly approach toward taxation and regulations, offering various advantages to businesses choosing to locate or expand their manufacturing operations in the state:
• No state property tax
• No local income tax
• No inventory tax
• Favorable corporate income tax structure
• Job Development Tax Credits
• Economic Development Set-Aside Grants
• Corporate Headquarters Tax Credits
• Research and Development Tax Credits
Building on its Success
South Carolina continues to develop strong relationships with world-class companies in the manufacturing industry that are choosing to not only locate in the Palmetto State, but to also put down roots and expand within its borders, including companies like BMW, Continental, Boeing, Volvo Cars, Bridgestone Tires, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Giti Tire, Toray, Samsung and Michelin. These companies and many more are taking advantage of the outstanding workforce, quality of life and access to government that South Carolina offers.
The state’s global impact shows the world that if something is made in South Carolina – from tires to textiles, from planes to peaches – it’s made with a guarantee that it will be made just right.
Recognized as a Top Business Location
South Carolina has a strong international footprint and since 2011, the state has ranked among top three in the nation for attracting jobs through foreign investment on a per capita basis, according to IBM-Plant Location International. Additionally, in five of seven years, the state has won awards from a development magazine and, in 2017, the state was recognized as another magazine’s State of the Year.
Quality of Life
The Palmetto State is steeped in history and tradition, offering natural beauty, world-renowned events, a low cost of living and an unparalleled location. Consistently ranked the No. 1 tourist destination in the country, South Carolina is also known as the state “First in Golf” with more than 400 courses within its borders. People from around the world have recognized the unsurpassed quality of life South Carolina has to offer, visiting the state often and making tourism in the state a $21.2 billion annual industry. In addition, a number of its new businesses have been awarded Corporate Investment Community Impact (CiCi) awards from Trade & Industry Development (T&ID) over the years.
South Carolina’s natural setting provides genuine beauty, which is experienced by millions of visitors to the state annually. From the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the northwest to the 187 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline in the east, residents and visitors also enjoy leisure activities on the many rivers and lakes in between.
The state’s location provides an incredible climate with warm summers and mild winters. Residents enjoy outdoor activities year round and companies see few weather-related business interruptions, again, making South Carolina just right for living, working and playing.
Some Recent Economic Development/Site Selection Announcements from South Carolina on T&ID
As is evident from just four of many announcements in recent months, companies choosing to locate in South Carolina are diverse and creating many jobs in the state.
• SC: Schuff Steel Company launching York County opportunities, creating 180 jobs
• SC: Kuehne + Nagel launching opportunities in Charleston County, creating 180 jobs
• SC: FUJIFILM expanding its Greenwood County production operations, hiring 67 employees
• SC: Merchant Iron Works expanding Sumter County operations, adding 27 jobs. T&ID