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  • 27 september, 2023
  • South Carolina On A Roll

  • South Carolina isn’t just a historic state with subtropical beaches – it has also become a magnet for investment, with more and more companies moving to the Palmetto State to enjoy its favorable business climate.

    World famous for its picturesque beaches and golf courses, gracious hospitality and relaxed lifestyle, South Carolina has long been recognized as one of the top travel destinations in the U.S.’s southern region. In fact, Condé Nast Traveler magazine has consistently named Charleston, South Carolina the number one small U.S. city tourist destination. Aside from its attraction as a top tourist destination, the Palmetto State, as South Carolina is also known, has been making its stamp on the map for business endeavors as well.

    Indeed, the past few years have seen record levels of investment and big announcements from world-class brands in South Carolina, along with shrinking levels of unemployment. Since 2017, the state’s capital investment topped $33 billion, which in turn created more than 83,000 jobs by new and expanding businesses. As a result, South Carolina’s unemployment rate continues to decline, to the benefit of the state’s population and economy alike.

    Global player

    Recognizing the numerous benefits that South Carolina has to offer, a growing number of companies are setting up shop in the Palmetto State. As such, South Carolina’s roster of world-class companies grew further in 2023 when Scout Motors announced a $2 billion investment in South Carolina. Having purchased 1,600 acres of land in Blythewood, the company will build all-electric, next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs harkening back to the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980, creating 4,000 new jobs in the process. Scout is planning to break ground on the new manufacturing facility in Blythewood Industrial Park and will begin production by the end of 2026.

    “We’re honored to partner with South Carolina to usher in this new era for Scout,” said President and CEO of Scout Motors Scott Keogh. “Scout has been an American icon since introducing an SUV in 1960. It’s the vehicle that took your family on a camping trip, that gave access to the great outdoors, and that showed up on the job site every morning. Today, we’re reimagining Scout’s original ingenuity and electrifying its future. We’re bringing the Scout spirit to South Carolina and it’s going to be a hell of a ride.”

    Home to more than 500 automotive-related companies and suppliers that employ over 82,000 people, South Carolina has a strong, rapidly growing automotive industry with world-wide brands such as BMW, Continental, Envision AESC, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Michelin, Oshkosh Defense, PoleStar and Volvo Cars in the region. With an annual economic impact of more than $27 billion, the automotive sector is now an integral part of the state’s economy. As a result, a wide range of companies — automakers, automotive suppliers and component manufacturing — are all based in South Carolina.

    This reputation is aided further by the fact that South Carolina has built one of the top programs for workforce training in the U.S.. Known as readySC, the program provides no-cost, customized training to companies making major investments in South Carolina. Working with the state’s technical colleges, readySC has led screening, hiring and training initiatives for more than 313,000 workers for over 2,200 companies since its inception. With this level of support on their doorsteps, companies seeking to expand operations can find an ideal environment in South Carolina.

    Globally competitive

    South Carolina is ideally located midway between New York and Miami, giving companies the ability to serve a rapidly growing population and consumer base in the Southeast. The state is also connected to a vast logistics network of rails, roads, airports and a dynamic gateway to trade, the Port of Charleston.

    Because of these factors, South Carolina has led the nation in recruiting foreign direct investment on a per capita basis, and today is home to more than 1,200 foreign-owned firms operating within its borders.

    “The world wants what South Carolinians are making, as evidenced by South Carolina’s boost in 2022 trade numbers,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “From tires to passenger vehicles, our industries are making their mark on the world stage as international markets continue to realize the value and craftsmanship of South Carolina-made goods.”

    The state’s connection to the world is proven in export sales totaling $31.5 billion in 2022. Consistently ranked the national leader in the export of completed passenger vehicles and tires, South Carolina’s 2022 export sales in those categories topped $10 billion and $1.7 billion, respectively.

    Low Cost of Doing Business

    South Carolina businesses thrive thanks to lower operating and capital costs.  The average salary ranks the sixth lowest in the nation. Business-friendly regulations and smart investments in energy infrastructure give South Carolina the region’s most affordable power costs. Industrial power costs in the state average only 6.02 cents per kilowatt hour, which is 9.75% less than the national average. 

    Favorable Tax Climate and Incentives

    The Palmetto State has a business-friendly approach toward taxation and regulations, offering various advantages to businesses choosing to locate or expand their manufacturing operations in the state: 

    • No state property tax
    • No inventory tax
    • No sales tax on manufacturing machinery, industrial power or materials for finished products
    • No wholesale tax
    • No unitary tax on worldwide profits
    • Favorable corporate income tax structure
    • No local income tax

    In South Carolina, a robust logistics infrastructure, skilled workforce, access to growing markets and business-friendly environment are all key assets that continue to make the state particularly attractive for foreign investment. Today, South Carolina’s diverse economy attracts companies from all corners of the globe. The Palmetto State takes pride in offering businesses the competitive advantages they need to be successful in today’s global market.

    For more information about doing business in South Carolina, please visit www.sccommerce.com.

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/south-carolina-department-of-commerce

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sccommerce

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/SCcommerce

    From the beautiful beaches along the coast, to the nationally-recognized business-friendly environment, to the temperate climate allowing for outdoor recreation year-round, South Carolina is just right to live, work and play.


    With a growing network of more than 400 aerospace and aviation companies, employing more than 136,000 workers, South Carolina continues to position itself for future success.


    Known to be the fastest factory start-up in automotive history, BMW’s 8-million-square-foot South Carolina facility employs 11,000 people.


    Home to globally recognized workforce development programs, such as readySC, the Palmetto State boasts a workforce that is ready and capable.


    Charleston Harbor now has the deepest harbor on the East Coast at 52 feet. The deepened harbor and widened channels enable fully loaded container ships to access SC Ports terminals any time, any tide.