SC Future Makers and SCMA Release South Carolina Manufacturing Economic Impact Study

SC Future Makers and SCMA Release South Carolina Manufacturing Economic Impact Study

Contact: James Richter
Date: April 20, 2021
Phone: 803.528.1288

(Columbia, South Carolina) – Today, SC Future Makers, a nonprofit workforce and education organization affiliated with the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA), released an economic impact study of South Carolina’s manufacturing industry.

Prepared by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, Research Economist with the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, the study documents the uniquely large footprint that manufacturing maintains in the Palmetto State that has an estimated economic impact that totals between $194 billion and $206 billion annually.

“The manufacturing industry has been the driving force of our state’s economy for over a century,” said Sara Hazzard, President and CEO of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. “The value and promise that American manufacturing provides is South Carolina’s story. Ours is an industry that offers great careers, drives innovation, transforms communities for the better, and creates lasting impacts that benefit all South Carolinians.”
The study reinforces the strong foundation the manufacturing industry has in South Carolina and the economic stability it creates. Over the past 30 years, the state’s manufacturing base has transformed into a more globally competitive, export-oriented industry cluster that has consistently outpaced growth in virtually all other sectors. Manufacturing is also relatively unique among all industry sectors in that it is one of the highest contributors to both GDP and employment in the Palmetto State.

“Manufacturing led South Carolina’s economic recovery out of the Great Recession of 2008 and continues to be a bright spot for our economy as we move towards a post-pandemic world,” said Dr. Von Nessen. “This study presents the critical role that manufacturing plays for the state and underscores the importance of continuing to support and maintain the health of the industry.”

Key economic impact findings from the study include:

• South Carolina’s manufacturing economic impact is estimated to total between $194 billion and $206 billion annually;
16% of the State’s GDP is associated with manufacturing;
• Manufacturing supports, either directly or indirectly, over 30% of all jobs statewide;
• The industry pays well and averages an annual salary that is 33% higher than the state’s average wage;
• Manufacturing creates more jobs than virtually any other sector and has a multiplier effect of 2.4;
38% of South Carolina’s General Fund revenue comes from the manufacturing industry;
• South Carolina manufacturing is largely anchored by the aerospace, automotive, and tire sectors along with their extended supply chains. These three sectors experienced growth at a collective rate of more than three times the state average over the past decade.

This study also documents the ongoing evolution of manufacturing workforce demands in the face of rapid technological innovation. Among the 127 specific manufacturing occupations examined, those likely to be in highest demand over the next decade are also the ones most likely to require some form of post-secondary education. This highlights a marked shift towards a more high-skilled, experienced workforce.

“Careers in manufacturing offer obtainable paths for individuals to achieve the American Dream, but we must ensure our future workforce is prepared and equipped to meet the demands required by this evolving industry,” said Sidney Locke, Vice President, Human Resources and Communications, Sage Automotive Interiors and Chairman of SC Future Makers. “This is a call to action for manufacturers to become more proactive in the education and workforce development community across South Carolina. Our continued success is dependent on what we do today to prepare future makers and creators for the career opportunities that drive our state’s economy.”

State of South Carolina leaders echoed the importance of the manufacturing industry:

“The impact South Carolina’s manufacturing industry continues to have on our state is a testament to our competitive business environment and it bolsters our international reputation as a state where companies can invest and be successful. I’m proud of the skilled, hard-working South Carolinians who have worked so hard to create this growth in one of our state’s most important industries.”– SC Governor Henry McMaster

“I appreciate the value manufacturing has brought to South Carolina. Our manufacturing community provides high-quality jobs whose work and impact enhances the quality of life throughout our state.” – SC Senate President, Harvey Peeler

“South Carolina is proud to be a manufacturing state – we are home to thriving small and large manufacturers all of which support the state’s booming economy. Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the overall success of South Carolina, making the Palmetto State a better place to live, work and play.” –Speaker of the SC House of Representatives, Jay Lucas

A copy of the Economic Impact of South Carolina Manufacturing can be accessed at:


SC Future Makers
SC Future Makers is a nonprofit education and workforce organization affiliated with the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. Its mission is to connect the next generation in the state of South Carolina with opportunities in advanced manufacturing and other industries throughout our state. Since its debut in 2016, SC Future Makers has worked with more than 100,000 students and over 200 South Carolina high schools. Given this success with the education community, SC Future Makers saw an additional opportunity to build connections with the large talent pool of veterans across South Carolina.

South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance
The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is the only statewide organization dedicated exclusively to the interests of manufacturers. Its mission is to strengthen and advance South Carolina manufacturing by advocating for our members, fostering a world-class workforce, and bringing together manufacturers to connect, share, and solve industry challenges. The SCMA membership is comprised of more than 200 manufacturing companies that represent more than 80,000 associates in South Carolina.