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S.C. ranked second-best state for business

Staff Report
Published Oct. 19, 2012

Citing a strong business and labor climate, editors of a national site consultant magazine ranked South Carolina second overall as a place to do business.

Area Development magazine noted reports of $3.4 billion worth of investments in new and expanding businesses announced in 2011 among reasons for awarding South Carolina the runner-up slot behind top-ranked Texas.

The Top 10

These 10 states were rated overall as the best states to do business. View the full report online.

1. Texas
2. South Carolina
3. Georgia
4.  Alabama
5. North Carolina
6. Louisiana
7. Tennessee
8. Indiana
9. Mississippi
10. Oklahoma

Manufacturing is also on the upswing in South Carolina as total exports grew 21% during the year, the editors said.

South Carolina moved up from its fourth place ranking in 2011.

“I could say South Carolina’s value is our business-friendly environment or our full service approach to companies big or small, new or existing. And this would be true,” S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in commenting on the Area Development article.

“I could say South Carolina is gaining a strong global reputation for being a state of business offering a world of opportunity with industry giants like Continental, Bridgestone, Michelin, BMW and Boeing doing business here. This, too, would be true,” Hitt added. “But the real value South Carolina brings to the table is our solid training programs and dedicated, skilled workforce.”

Consultants surveyed for the story ranked South Carolina second — tied with North Carolina — for its overall labor climate “because of its competitive labor costs and leading workforce development programs,” the magazine said. “This is a result of the state’s proactive approach to building a ready and willing workforce that provides the advanced skill sets companies need for their new operations.”

Editors pointed out that ReadySC, South Carolina’s workforce 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,” Marco Cavazzoni, vice president and general manager of final assembly and delivery for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in North Charleston, told the magazine’s editors. “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.”

South Carolina also was ranked No. 2 for overall business climate; No. 3 for infrastructure and global access; and tied for No. 5 in leading in the economic recovery.

Major deals cited by the magazine included:

  • Bridgestone Americas announcement to invest $1.2 billion in the expansion of an existing tire plant and the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Aiken County.
  • BMW’s $900 million expansion of its plant in Spartanburg County, bringing BMW’s total investment in the state to nearly $6 billion.
  • Michelin North America’s investment of nearly $1 billion in plants in Lexington and Anderson counties, creating 500 jobs.