Gossett, Rawl: Positive signs for SC economy

December 23, 2013 

— As leaders of the state’s two largest organizations representing manufacturing and the business community, we consider our business climate an important gauge of how successful our members can be. Two announcements this month show that South Carolina’s economy is on the right track.

Recently, economists at the University of South Carolina said our economy is growing faster than before the recession. Through October, employment was up in every major region of the state, and this trend should continue into 2014. This would not be possible without our state’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment that sets the table for companies to succeed here.

Meantime, the S.C. Department of Commerce announced an important milestone, with more than 40,000 new jobs announced since 2011. These new jobs represent positions in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, agribusiness and service.

South Carolina is playing a large and growing role in the re-shoring of manufacturing jobs, and we are a leading player in the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States. In fact, around three-quarters of projects announced by the Department of Commerce this year have been manufacturing-related; that’s 24,000 new jobs and more than $8.3 billion in capital investments. This brings many direct benefits to existing businesses, through the local purchase of supplies and vendor services.

We’re outpacing neighboring states in overall economic growth as well as manufacturing gross domestic product and employment tied to foreign direct investment. South Carolina is firmly establishing itself as a global leader in manufacturing.

Our state’s largest companies are not alone in their success. Around 97 percent of private-sector employment is in companies with 100 or fewer employees, demonstrating that South Carolina’s small-business community is vitally important to the economy. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the number of small businesses in the state has grown by more than 4 percent in two years, exceeding the rate in North Carolina and Georgia.

Gov. Nikki Haley pledged to make job creation her No. 1 priority, and she is delivering on that promise. Her Department of Commerce, under Secretary Bobby Hitt, is leading that charge and making a great impact on the recruitment and retention of successful businesses.

We are encouraged by this momentum. The positive business climate in South Carolina offers further opportunities for growth for the businesses we represent, manufacturing and beyond.

Lewis Gossett

President and CEO

S.C. Manufacturers Alliance

Otis Rawl

President and CEO

S.C. Chamber of Commerce

Columbia

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