There are many reasons to enjoy and appreciate South Carolina as a home base and beacon for hospitality - from Upstate Greenville’s small foodie charm to Lowcountry Charleston’s historical appeal. Ultimately, its economic development initiatives make the state ideal for businesses to thrive.

In 2019, South Carolina’s GDP was $213.45 billion, and its 4.7% GDP growth from 2013 to 2018 was the 11th-largest increase in the United States over that time. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, more than 1,200 international companies have operations in the state.

South Carolina is also the No. 1 state for business incentives with no state property, local income, inventory or wholesale tax, and one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the Southeast U.S., among other benefits. With a high value on business, it’s easy to understand how these five industries are flourishing in the state.


4.9 million acres in South Carolina are dedicated farmland that produces valuable products like soybeans, wheat, corn, cotton, eggs, turkeys and cattle. In 2018, the industry’s economic impact was estimated to be $41.7 billion.1

Aerospace and Aviation
In 2009, Boeing constructed its assembly and delivery facility in North Charleston. Since then, the industry has become a beacon in the state with an annual economic impact of more than $19 billion.2 South Carolina leads the U.S. in the export of passenger vehicles and nearly one third of the U.S. shares for exporting tires.

In 1994, the first South Carolina-made BMW was developed in the Upstate. Nearly 30 years later, the automotive industry has become a thriving sector and has increased the frequency of automotive manufacturing companies relocating to the growing state. This includes the up-and-running Volvo Car USA’s first U.S. manufacturing plant at our very own Camp Hall.

South Carolina’s optimal location for transportation of supplies and goods using nearby highways, airports, seaports and railroads makes it ideal for automotive businesses to efficiently reach their suppliers and markets.

Advanced Manufacturing
At one point, South Carolina was well known for manufacturing apparel and textiles. Today, this has advanced to a diversified industry manufacturing pharmaceuticals and medicine, aerospace parts, machinery and motor vehicle parts. As of 2019, manufacturing accounted for nearly 17% of the state’s output. The total economic impact for 2018 was an impressive $38.73 billion.3

While tourism isn’t the largest industry, it is still an incredibly popular one in the state. South Carolina is home to the Grand Strand, Charleston, Greenville, Clemson and Columbia and brings in millions of tourists each year. It generates about $15 billion annually and is responsible for more than 10% of jobs for its population. Charleston has even been named the No. 1 U.S city for the seventh year in a row by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, as part of its annual World’s Best Awards survey.

As South Carolina continues to grow, the state will expand upon its industry accolades and, therefore, increase business creation and migration to the area. Most recently, Santee Cooper began a commerce park project near Charleston, Camp Hall, which provides ready-for-you development sites. The next-generation, modern commerce park is built in a prime location near a well-suited workforce, offers a powerful transportation system and helps businesses have space and resources to get up and running quickly. Camp Hall was recently named the No. 7 best industrial park in the nation in Business Facilities Magazine’s 16th annual Rankings Report, the magazine’s annual assessment of economic development and location leaders

The opportunity to run your business successfully in South Carolina is alive and well. With leading industries that provide so much value and advancement, it’s no shock that South Carolina’s focus on people and beneficial business development is leading the way to an even more prosperous future.


1 https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-are-the-biggest-industries-in-south-carolina.html

2 https://www.sccommerce.com/industries/aerospace-industry

3 https://www.nam.org/state-manufacturing-data/2019-south-carolina-manufacturing-facts/

Author Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s largest power provider, the ultimate source of electricity for 2 million people across the state, and one of America’s Best Midsize Employers as named by Forbes. Through its low-cost, reliable and environmentally responsible electricity and water services, and through innovative partnerships and initiatives that attract and retain industry and jobs, Santee Cooper helps power South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.santeecooper.com and follow #PoweringSC on social media.