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IndustryNet Blog

South Carolina manufacturing job growth gains momentum

Posted by IndustryNet on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

100000310_machinistAccording to new data compiled by MNI, publisher of the U.S. industrial data that powers IndustryNet, South Carolina added manufacturing jobs for a seventh straight year.

Gains were led by the plastics and rubber industry, as well as chemical processing, primary metals and electronics, unlike previous years, in which increases were overwhelmingly led by the transportation equipment sector.

The latest data suggests, however, that the state’s transportation equipment sector is poised for accelerated growth in the coming year, with some major operations expanding hiring in the months ahead. 

Overall, South Carolina has added more than 20,000 jobs since the end of the recession, an increase of 8%. The state’s transportation equipment industry accounted for a whopping 70% of the state’s total manufacturing job gains, adding more than 14,000 jobs over the seven-year period -- an increase of 50%.

South Carolina manufacturing: the year in review

South Carolina manufacturers added 3,486 industrial jobs between September 2017 and September 2018, a gain of one percent.

This year, gains were led by the rubber/plastics industry, which shot up 7%. Rubber/plastics remains the state’s third largest sector by number of industrial jobs, employing 27,406. Adding to these gains were significant increases in chemical processing (+7%) primary metals (+6%); electronics (+4%); instruments/related products (+3%) and stone/clay/glass (+3%).

Employment in the transportation equipment industry was virtually unchanged, up a half percent. Transportation equipment remains the state’s top sector by number of jobs, employing 40,4469. Second-ranked food processing was also steady at 33,755, losing a net 33 jobs over the year.engine_worker

Losses were fewer, and was most severe in paper products which sank 7%, as well as fabricated metals (-3%) and printing/publishing (-2%).

MNI’s city data shows industrial jobs in North Charleston surged 9% over the year, following the establishment of a new Mercedes Benz assembly plant, while jobs in Anderson rose 1%.

Greenville, the state’s top city by number of industrial jobs, lost 1.4% of its manufacturing workforce. Currently, manufacturers in the city of Greenville employ 23,895 workers.

New and expanding manufacturing operations in South Carolina

A number of new manufacturing plant announcements were made in South Carolina over the year, including some major new developments in the state’s transportation equipment sector. 

Volvo, for instance, opened its first U.S. assembly plant in Ridgeville in June.The new Volvo plant will be producing its S60 sedan at the Ridgeville plant and employs 1,500. The Swedish automaker plans to manufacture its XC90 SUV at the new facility by 2021, adding an additional 2,500 workers to the site.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz started up operations at its long-awaited new plant in North Charleston, where it will assemble its Sprinter Vans. The plant currently employs 900, though this number is expected to top out at 1,300 in 2020.

A number of auto suppliers have announced expansions in the state, including Germany-based automotive supplier Bosch, which will expand its facility in Anderson; while Magna International has expanded hiring at its automotive seating plant in Moore, creating 130 jobs. Evonik Industries, which makes precipitated silica for the tire industry broke ground on a new plant in Goose Creek.

The state also made great strides over the past year in many other industries, with the expansion of Switzerland-based Lonza in Greenwood, which added 50,000 square feet to its nutritional ingredients facility in Greenwood. JW Aluminum, which manufactures flat-rolled aluminum products also announced a major expansion, adding 220,000 square feet and 50 jobs to its facility in Goose Creek.

By the Numbers

South Carolina’s 4,410 industrial companies employ 271,432 workers.

Here’s a further breakdown of the numbers:

South Carolina’s top five industries based on number of jobs:

15% Transportation equipment
13% Industrial machinery and equipment
11% Rubber and miscellaneous plastic products
8% Fabricated metal products
7% Food and kindred products

textile workerSouth Carolina’s top five cities for number of manufacturing jobs:

Greenville - 27,397 jobs
Spartanburg - 15,967 jobs
North Charleston - 15,517 jobs
Greer - 13,137 jobs
Anderson - 10,831 jobs

South Carolina’s top counties for industrial jobs

Greenville - 55,075 jobs
Spartanburg - 29,497 jobs
Charleston - 24,282 jobs
Lexington - 17,394 jobs
Anderson - 14,465 jobs

Top industrial companies in South Carolina:

South Carolina’s top companies by number of manufacturing jobs are representative of the state’s diverse industrial sector, producing everything from airplanes and automobiles to electronics and food products.

BMW Mfg. Co., LLC (Greer) - 8,000 employees
Boeing Commercial Airplanes (North Charleston) - 6,800 employees
Michelin North America, Inc. (Greenville) - 3,800 employees
GE Power Electronics, Inc. (Greenville) - 3,400 employees
Kraft Heinz Foods Company (Newberry) - 2,500 employees

About this data: 

MNI’s extensive manufacturing data powers IndustryNet, an industrial marketplace that connects buyers with suppliers. MNI’s team of more than 80 researchers scours hundreds of sources on-and-offline to zero in on every manufacturer in the U.S. Each manufacturer is contacted multiple times annually to ensure its information remains up-to-date and complete.

IndustryNet allows users to search and source more than ten thousand types of products, parts, supplies, and services for free. IndustryNet® lists every U.S. manufacturer plus thousands of wholesalers & distributors and industrial service providers. To connect with industrial suppliers in South Carolina and across the U.S. start your free search on IndustryNet. Or, to access detailed profiles of South Carolina’s 4,600 industrial companies and their 11,000 executives, learn more about MNI’s IndustrySelect database subscription.













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