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2012 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards: Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Utah awarded Gold Shovel

These states' innovative economic development policies attracted new employers in 2011, as well as catalyzing investments in facility and operating expansions by existing local businesses, driving significant in-state job growth.

Area Development Magazine Special Presentation (Summer 2012)


Choose from the winning states in the above tabs and hover over the markers on each state's map to see the top 2011 investment projects, creating high value-added jobs in new or expanded facilities, which lead to that state being recognized as a Gold Shovel winner. 

South Carolina - 3+ to 5 Million Population Category 
South Carolina received a Gold Shovel award in 2011 and Silver Shovels in 2009 and 2010. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, 2011 exports totaled more than $24.6 billion — a 21.4 percent increase over 2010. The top-10 export industries last year were automobiles, machinery, rubber, electrical machinery, plastics, paper and paperboard, organic chemicals, optics and medical equipment, wood pulp, and cotton fabric. 

Automotive production in the state surged 52 percent in 2011. Big expansions included BMW in Spartanburg County ($100 million, 100 new employees) and ZF Group in Laurens County ($80 million, 300 jobs). South Carolina’s leadership in another automotive field — tires — is less well known. In 2011 the state ranked first in the nation for tire exports, holding nearly one-third of the share of U.S.-made exported tires. 

Leading tire manufacturers continue to expand. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations is investing $1.2 billion to build a 1.5-million-square-foot, off-road radial tire manufacturing plant in Aiken County, creating 850 new jobs. The company also announced an additional 474,000-square-foot expansion of its existing passenger and light truck tire plant. And Michelin North America is investing $200 million to expand its facility in Lexington County, which will require an additional 270 workers. 

“South Carolina is poised to become the number-one tire producing state in the U.S., and the tires that we make here are exported all over the world,” says Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America.

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