South Carolina manufacturing employment inched up for a fifth straight year, according to the 2017 South Carolina Manufacturers Register, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI).
MNI reports South Carolina added 2,030 jobs between September 2015 and September 2016, and is now home to 4,629 manufacturers employing 270,348 workers. Since September 2011, manufacturing jobs in the state have grown by 7.4 percent.
"South Carolina has not only recovered most of the recession's losses but has positioned itself as a prime location for new manufacturers, particularly those in the transportation equipment sector," says Tom Dubin, MNI president. "The state consistently ranks high in multiple site selection factors such as infrastructure, workforce, business costs and incentive programs, but a strong dollar continues to put a dent in exports."
The transportation equipment industry continues to drive manufacturing employment gains, adding 1,454 jobs or nearly 4 percent over the year. The industry ranked first in the state for industrial jobs, employing 39,789 workers. Job gains in the sector have also outpaced the state's overall growth, increasing 26 percent or by nearly 8,300 jobs since September 2012.
The industrial machinery and equipment sector ranked as the state's second-largest by manufacturing employment, followed by the rubber/plastics industry. Other manufacturing sectors gaining jobs included stone/clay/glass, instruments/related products, furniture/fixtures, electronics, chemicals, rubber/plastics and primary metals. Among the industries shedding jobs were fabricated metals and paper products.
Numerous companies announced plant openings in the state over the year, such as Volvo, which chose the state for its first U.S. operation and broke ground on the new Ridgeville plant in September 2015; GE, which opened the first phase of its advanced manufacturing facility in Greenville; Trelleborg, which established a new radial tire factory in Spartanburg; and Bodycote, which established a thermal processing facility in Greenville to serve the aerospace industry.
Manufacturing locations closing in South Carolina included Charleston Marine Containers, ESAB Welding and Cutting Products in Florence, and Galey & Lord Industries' textiles plant in Society Hill.
Manufacturing job gains were concentrated in the state's Northwest region, with employment up 1.1 percent to 171,996. The state's Southeast region also gained jobs, up 1.5 percent to 34,417, while no significant change was reported in the Northeast region. The Southwest region accounted for only 18,838 jobs, which was down 1.4 percent over the past 12 months.
For more information, visit www.mni.net.