South Carolina’s manufacturing industry health is above average, report says


South Carolina’s manufacturing industry remains above average, receiving an A grade on the 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card last month.

The annual report, which was published by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research and Conexus Indiana, ranks states in categories “most likely to be considered by site-selection experts for manufacturing and logistics firms” and those used for research on economic growth, according to a news release.

Industry health was measured by “the share of total income earned by manufacturing employees in each state, the wage premium paid to manufacturing workers relative to the other states’ employees, and the share of manufacturing employment per capita.”

According to the report, South Carolina received a C grade in logistics and declined from a C to C-minus in its productivity and innovation. The Palmetto State also experienced a decline in manufacturing growth between 2014 and 2016.

On a more positive note, South Carolina improved from a B to B-plus in diversification, from a C-minus to C in tax climate, and from an F to D-minus in human capital. The state maintained the same grade in global reach, benefits costs, and logistics and liability.

South Carolina is one of five states to receive an A grade in manufacturing industry health, according to the report. Other states with above-average manufacturing industries include Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.

“U.S. manufacturing and logistics are in a remarkable period of expansion,” Michael Hicks, executive director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research, said in a statement.

In South Carolina, more than 1,800 manufacturers, including more than 400 foreign companies, call the Upstate region home, according to Upstate SC Alliance. That includes BMW Manufacturing Co., Bosch, GE, Fluor, AFL, and Magna.

As reported by the Upstate Business Journal, the region’s increasing proficiency in several subsectors — advanced materials, aerospace, automotive, bioscience, and energy — continues to attract investment and jobs from new and expanding companies.

“It’s impossible to overstate the role that manufacturing has played in transforming the economy of both the Upstate and South Carolina as a whole,” said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.

“With the rise of complex manufacturing, our state and our workforce have built a reputation as a global-brand state — a state that not only makes things but makes them well,” he added. “This reputation continues to attract industry leaders from around the world who now view South Carolina as an industrial powerhouse.”

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