South Carolina’s Industrial Market Accelerates through 2015

Key Takeaways

  • Domestic and foreign companies continue to invest in South Carolina, benefitting from the state’s pro-business environment and skilled labor force.
  • 2015 was accompanied by further tightening for South Carolina’s industrial market.
  • Strong positive net absorption in 2015 contributed to a decline in vacancy despite new construction deliveries and two large vacancies coming online.  
  • Manufacturing is a key element of South Carolina’s economy, accounting for nearly 25% of real gross domestic product.
  • Industrial employment is a strong component of South Carolina’s economy.
  • The market’s outlook is positive for 2016 and beyond.

Strengthening Economy is Fundamental to Industrial Growth

The national economy continued to improve in 2015 with real gross domestic product (GDP) increasing 2.4% since 2014, the same growth rate as the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The nation’s economy has been expanding 15 out of the past 16 quarters.  Most recent South Carolina data shows a 1.8% growth in real GDP from the second quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2015.  Real GDP for South Carolina grew 2.1% in 2014.  Continued GDP growth is expected as capital investments and job creation add to statewide production.

Manufacturing, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing collectively account for nearly 25.0% of South Carolina’s real GDP.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2015, approximately 302,000 jobs in South Carolina belonged to the industrial sector consisting of manufacturing and wholesale trade.  Industrial employment accounts for 14.8% of the state’s total non-agricultural employment and is a key economic driver.  The Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC metropolitan statistical area (MSA) holds the largest concentration of industrial employment with 71,900 industrial jobs, accounting for 17.8% of the MSA’s total non-agricultural employment.

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