South Carolina is on a roll — the Palmetto State brought in a total investment of $3.37 billion from new and expanding businesses in 2011. Manufacturing is also on the mend, with total exports up by 21 percent last year. These are just some of the reasons South Carolina was ranked second by the consultants among the Top States for Doing Business, up from fourth place in 2011.
The consultants also ranked South Carolina second for its overall business environment and overall labor climate (tied) because of its competitive labor costs and leading work force development programs. This is a result of the state’s pro-active approach to building a ready and willing work force that provides the advanced skill sets companies need for their new operations. ReadySC, South Carolina’s work force development program, has trained more than 250,000 workers for nearly 2,000 companies.
“It’s important that we have people who have the ability to perform high-technology work and who are willing to continue to learn,” says Marco Cavazzoni, vice president and general manager of final assembly and delivery for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in North Charleston. “This is an environment where everyone rallies for a common cause, and people here are aligned with the very high goals we have set for this facility.”
Nearly $5 billion in investment and 13,190 new jobs helped drive South Carolina’s manufacturing sector in 2011. Automotive-related manufacturing saw more than $2.7 billion in capital investment and nearly 4,700 new jobs. In September 2011, Bridgestone Americas announced it would invest $1.2 billion in a new manufacturing facility and expansion in Aiken County. This project will add more than 850 jobs and is the largest single initial capital investment in the state’s history. Another sizeable automotive project is BMW’s $900 million expansion of its plant in Spartanburg County, bringing BMW’s total investment in the state to nearly $6 billion. In addition, Michelin North America has invested nearly $1 billion in its South Carolina operations over the last year, creating over 500 jobs.
Michelin has also been an active partner in deepening the Charleston Harbor to accommodate the new, larger cargo vessels. “It’s a tribute to the productivity of our employees and the pro-business environment in South Carolina that Michelin continues to expand in the state where we first began manufacturing in the United States,” adds Michelin President Pete Selleck.
It’s no wonder than that South Carolina ranked third for its overall infrastructure and global access among the Top States for Doing Business.
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