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S.C. Auto Council Study: Industry Key to Economic Growth

Carolina Headlines - Automotive

UPSTATE, SC – Contributing approximately 5.4 percent of the state’s employment base, the automotive cluster is the state’s leading job machine – this and other key findings of a comprehensive economic impact study on the South Carolina’s automotive industry were released today by The South Carolina Automotive Council in partnership with the Upstate SC Alliance. Including both automotive and ground transportation industries, the automotive cluster generates an estimated US$29 billion in sales a year, comprising of 12.3 percent of all sales in South Carolina.

Automotive industry leaders, including suppliers and manufacturers, gathered with Automotive Council members at BMW Zentrum Center to hear the details of the automotive industry’s role in economic development and the effect the industry will have on the state’s future. Speakers included South Carolina Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt; Lewis Gossett, president and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance; Dr. Doug Woodward, director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business; and Artie Perry, chairman, South Carolina Automotive Council.

"A substantial number of jobs in the state have been created by the automotive sector. One direct automotive job supports 4.5 additional jobs,” said Dr. Doug Woodward, director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business.

Compiled by economists in the Division of Research at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business, the automotive impact study was made possible through a grant secured by Upstate SC Alliance from AdvanceSC, a grant program established by Duke Energy South Carolina.

Highlights of the study include the following findings:

  • The automotive cluster is the state’s leading job machine. Automotive/ground transportation-related businesses contribute to approximately 5.4 percent of the state’s employment base. For each job directly employed in automotive/ground transportation, more than three additional jobs are supported elsewhere in South Carolina’s economy.
  • The highest job multiplier in the state is military vehicle manufacturing, where every direct job supports an additional 4.5 jobs – more than 1.5 greater than the industry average.
  • The top 10 counties in South Carolina for employment in the automotive industry are Greenville, Charleston, Berkeley, Spartanburg, York, Aiken, Florence, Richland, Lexington and Greenwood.
  • Automotive industry employers are well paid – approximately 31 percent above South Carolina’s average wage.
  • The automotive cluster’s commitment to research and development plays a significant role in the state’s economic development efforts.

"The automotive-related manufacturing sector has not been fully appreciated and recognized as an engine for jobs, growth and innovation,” said Lewis Gossett, president and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. "This study reveals just how beneficial and pivotal the automotive sector is for South Carolina.”

According to the study, the automotive and transportation businesses have been growing steadily in the Upstate over the past 30 years, with most of these companies focused on the manufacturing side of the business.

"The scale of the automotive network is much larger than expected,” said George Acker, chairman for Upstate SC Alliance. "Industry studies like this provide critical insights and help us to understand the potential growth opportunities within an industry.”

About the South Carolina Automotive Council

With a mission to enhance South Carolina’s automotive manufacturing sector, the South Carolina Automotive Council serves as a forum for automotive manufacturers to work collectively and proactively to address issues through advocacy, resource development, continuous improvement and the exchange of ideas. Visit www.scautomotivecouncil.com.

About the Upstate SC Alliance

The Upstate SC Alliance is a public/private regional economic development organization designed to market the 10 counties in South Carolina’s Upstate – Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union. Visit www.upstatealliance.com.

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