Area Development magazine, an industry trade journal recently ranked South Carolina in the top 5 for economic development. The magazine ranked South Carolina as number 5 in its annual “Top States for Doing Business” report. Other Southeastern states to rank high included Georgia as number one for the fifth consecutive year, Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama ranked in the top five, and North Carolina ranked at sixth. South Carolina continues to rank in the top ten over the years, having finished second in 2017, 2016, 2013 and 2012 and ranked third in 2015 and 2014.
“Regular appearances at or near the top are a reflection of success, and the ongoing success that builds upon past wins and positive reputations,” wrote Area Development magazine in its report when announcing the year’s rankings. The magazine evaluated 11 categories to determine its rankings of the 50 states for economic development.
South Carolina Strong Across Categories
South Carolina ranked in the top five states for seven of these categories and in the top ten for nine categories. The Palmetto State ranked number one under “business incentive programs”.
“It’s menu of incentives is long and diverse—many focus on lowering corporate income, sales or local property taxes,” wrote the Area Development report. “But many of its economic development successes are also driven by job development credits, workforce development incentives, and grants from such discretionary funds as the Set-Aside Program, the Rural Infrastructure Fund, and the Governor’s Closing Fund, all of which can be tailored to an individual company’s needs.”
Strong Economic Development Community
The tight-knit culture of those in the economic development community is South Carolina’s “secret weapon,” said Steve Dykes, Charleston County’s economic development director. His office recently gained recognition from the International Economic Development Council for its Business Concierge Program which addressed the needs of existing industry. “I’ve got two, full-time people dedicated to nothing but visiting our companies,” Dykes said. This has helped Charleston County land an expansion announcement from Mahle Behr Charleston Inc, a truck parts supplier that will invest $36 million and add 115 new jobs in its facility in North Charleston.
Area Development said that access to skilled labor will be an important economic development indicator for states who have strong workforce development programs. “That’s a national theme right now,” Dykes said. He said that Charleston’s booming population growth and the establishment of worker training programs, are helping the metro area “refill the pipeline.”
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