SC Commerce reports another banner year for economic development
Story Date: 11/30/2023

SC Commerce reports another banner year for economic development
Jay KingNovember 29, 2023

Following a record-setting $10 billion in new investment in 2022, South Carolina expects to enjoy another banner year for economic development in 2023.

As of November, the Palmetto State has attracted about $7.7 billion in economic investments, according to Teresa Powers, deputy director for global business development for the state Department of Commerce.

Powers provided the update on economic development Nov. 29 during a Coffee and Conversations program at Upstate SC Alliance, the leading economic development organization for the northwestern corner of the state.

This year’s investment total so far represents about 12,000 new jobs from 70 projects. Powers expects the final tally to come close to 2022’s $10 billion and 14,000 jobs.

Leading the pack of significant projects announced this year is Scout Motor’s decision in March to invest $2 billion to build a manufacturing plant in Richland County. The company plans to build up to 200,000 trucks and SUVs for a brand that last saw production from 1960-1980.

In resurrecting an iconic vehicle brand, Scout is essentially a startup, Powers said. The company will operate under the Volkswagen umbrella of companies.

She said Scout’s decision to locate in the state was in part due to the proven track record of automotive manufacturing here and the effectiveness with which local and state agencies and organizations work together.

“We have the expertise … we know how to get these big plants up and running,” Powers said. “We work really well together and it shows.”

She said the projects announced this year represent a diverse mix of companies and industries ranging from automotive and EV-related manufacturing to biomedical and semiconductor firms.

This year also saw the first Vietnamese company to choose South Carolina as the home of a new $68 million plant to manufacture and retread tires for large commercial vehicles. Tin Thanh Group Americas announced its plans to build a new facility in Allendale County and add more than 1,000 jobs to that rural county.

Powers said continued global geopolitical uncertainty is likely to pose challenges in 2024. Fears of a possible economic recession next year may also slow investment, she added.

On the upside, the state’s designation in October as one of 31 regional technology and innovation hubs by the federal Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration could unlock substantial new investment, Powers said.

2023 economic development by the numbers
$7.7 billion announced as of November representing 70 projects and about 12,000 new jobs
67% are new projects, while 33% are expansions of existing companies
Automotive remains the largest single sector at 16% of overall investment
62% of companies are from the U.S., 19% from Europe and 12% from Asia
16% of companies are from Germany, 12% from South Korea, and 6% each from Japan and China