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Top 5 Industries in South Carolina: Which Parts of the Economy Are Strongest?

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A view of a US Naval Helicopter on the flight deck with the super structure of the historical USS Yorktown (CV-10) in the background located in Charleston South Carolina. (Rschnaible/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 10 Apr 2015 01:06 PM

While other states were losing jobs during the recession, South Carolina was gaining them. In fact, more than 1,200 businesses chose to expand or grow in South Carolina in 2010. The top five industries in South Carolina range from aerospace and aviation, to biotechnology and life sciences.

"South Carolina has built a reputation for having a business-friendly climate and a talented workforce, and these and other factors have certainly played a role in landing the large deals we've seen over the past few years," said Bobby Hitt, the state's Secretary of Commerce, according to Business Climate.

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Here are the top five industries in South Carolina:

1. Aerospace and Aviation

South Carolina is home to more than 100 aerospace-related companies employing more than 16,000 people. That is part of the reason Boeing expanded its operations there in establishing a second final assembly line for its 787 Dreamliner as orders for the plane increased.

At the time the company said it needed a place with top-notch infrastructure, a business-friendly climate and a skilled workforce - and South Carolina was a good fit, according to South Carolina's Department of Commerce.

2. Automotive Manufacturing

Ranked third in the nation in Business Facilities 2012 automotive manufacturing strength report, South Carolina is home to more than 250 automotive and automotive-related companies. With automotive manufacturing plants, suppliers and other companies, the state’s skilled workforce and strong infrastructure make it a premier location for automotive companies large and small.

3. Biotechnology and Life Sciences

South Carolina has an expanding biotechnology and life sciences industry cluster comprised of nearly 600 manufacturing, life science-related research and development and service companies, which employ more than 13,000 people statewide. Charleston alone has over 35 medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers and 50 research laboratories and development companies.

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Dr. Stephen Lanier, associate provost for research at the Medical University of South Carolina, told Business Climate that he relocated to South Carolina after seeing first-hand the state's commitment to life sciences.

"The two major themes that appealed to me were the dramatic growth of research programs across the state, and partnerships being developed among the three major research universities and health-care providers in the state," said Dr. Lanier. "It was clear to me that the alignment of support systems was ramping up the energy around biomedical-based technology development."

4. Transportation

South Carolina is home to the seventh largest container port in the United States in the Port of Charleston. South Carolina's five major airports, and proximity to major airports in Charlotte and Atlanta, put commercial service no more than an hour away from any region, reports Business Climate.

5. Recycling

South Carolina also has a growing recycling market, with more than 500 companies that broker, collect and transform recovered materials into new products — employing 37,000 people across the state.

URGENT: Do You Approve of the Job Nikki Haley Is Doing as South Carolina Governor?

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While other states were losing jobs during the recession, South Carolina was gaining them. In fact, more than 1,200 businesses chose to expand or grow in South Carolina in 2010. The top five industries in South Carolina range from aerospace and aviation, to biotechnology and life sciences.
industries in south carolina, economy
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2015-06-10
Friday, 10 Apr 2015 01:06 PM
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