Business

Greenville Co. national leader in adding warehouse jobs

There are five miles of conveyor belts moving merchandise inside Amazon's Lexington County plant.
There are five miles of conveyor belts moving merchandise inside Amazon's Lexington County plant. gmelendez@thestate.com

Greenville County added more than 1,000 warehouse jobs in 2014, making it No. 3 in the country for warehouse job growth that year, according to a new analysis of federal employment data by a Texas company.

Greenville County’s average warehouse employment rose from 821 in 2013 to 1,857 in 2014, an increase of 1,036 jobs, according to the analysis by Headlight Data of Austin.

Only two other counties – both of them in the Los Angeles area – added more warehouse jobs, according to the report, which examined data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Headlight Data ranked Lexington County the country’s No. 10 county for warehouse job growth in 2014, with 744 new jobs for a total of 2,586.

Chris Engle, president of Headlight Data, said he didn’t know why Greenville County added so many warehouse jobs, though one reason could be the strong rebound of the automotive industry.

John Lummus, president of the Upstate SC Alliance, the regional economic development organization, said the Greenville County jobs were probably mostly incremental additions at existing warehouses. The warehouse job growth likely reflects growth in manufacturing since manufacturers typically use warehouses, Lummus said.

Mark Farris, president of the Greenville Area Development Corp., Greenville County’s economic development arm, said he wasn’t surprised to hear the numbers. Most distribution and logistics operations could benefit from Greenville County’s location on Interstate 85, its lower costs of operation and its labor availability, Farris said.

Not included in the analysis are more than 1,000 distribution center jobs announced for the Upstate during 2015.

They’re planned by TechTronic Industries in Anderson County, Rite Aid in Spartanburg County and Dollar Tree at the Spartanburg County/Cherokee County line.

Also left out of the analysis are 500 jobs announced this year for Amazon’s distribution center in Lexington County. Amazon said it would add the 500 jobs on top of more than 1,500 at the fulfillment center.

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