15 Must-Know Facts about South Carolina’s Economy

South Carolina is on the economic rise.
Updated April 11, 2024
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South Carolina's economy is a dynamic force, contributing significantly to the nation's economic landscape.

From its robust manufacturing sector to its thriving healthcare industry, the Palmetto State offers a diverse array of economic opportunities.

Here are 15 key insights into South Carolina's economy, highlighting its growth, employment trends, major industries, and future projections.

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South Carolina's gross state product (GSP) in 2023 reached $228.3 billion

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Experiencing strong growth over the five years leading up to 2023, South Carolina's economy has demonstrated resilience and dynamism, contributing significantly to its overall economic output.

South Carolina’s growth rate of 3.3% for the number of businesses is one of the best in the country, ranking seventh. This substantial increase underscores the state's robust economic performance and ability to attract investment and foster growth across various sectors.

South Carolina accounted for 1.2% of the U.S. economy in Q3 2023

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This highlights the substantial contribution of South Carolina's economy on a national scale, showcasing its importance within the broader economic landscape of the United States.

As one of the key players in the nation's economy, South Carolina's growth and stability have ripple effects that extend beyond state borders, influencing economic trends and dynamics at the national level.

South Carolina ranks 25th in economic size among states and Washington, D.C.

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With its impressive gross state product and economic output, South Carolina holds a prominent position among the various states and territories of the United States. This ranking underscores the state's economic significance and its role as a vital contributor to the nation's overall economic prosperity and competitiveness.

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The real GDP growth rate for South Carolina was 5.7% in Q3 2023

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This robust growth rate is an example of the state's economic vitality and resilience, reflecting its ability to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing economic environment. South Carolina's consistent economic expansion bodes well for its future prospects and emphasizes its attractiveness as a destination for business investment and development.

Businesses in South Carolina employed a total of 2,379,820 people in 2023

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Ranking 23rd out of all 50 U.S. states, the state's employment figures highlight its role as a significant employer, providing livelihoods to a substantial portion of its population and driving economic activity across various sectors.

With a diverse workforce and a range of employment opportunities, South Carolina remains an attractive destination for job seekers and businesses alike.

Employment in South Carolina has grown at an annualized rate of 2.6% over the past five years to 2023

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Overperforming the national average of 1.2%, this consistent employment growth reflects the state's favorable business climate and ongoing efforts to attract investment and create job opportunities.

South Carolina's ability to outpace the national average in job creation is impressive, and shows its economic resilience and competitiveness in today's dynamic marketplace.

The top three sectors by total employment are manufacturing, real estate and rental and leasing, professional, and scientific, and technical services

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These sectors serve as key pillars of South Carolina's economy, contributing significantly to its employment base and overall economic output. Their collective impact underscores the state's diverse economic landscape and its ability to support a wide range of industries and job opportunities.

The unemployment rate across the state in 2023 was just 3.2%

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South Carolina's low unemployment rate speaks to its strong labor market and the availability of job opportunities for its residents, reflecting a healthy and vibrant economy. This favorable employment environment provides individuals with meaningful work and fosters economic stability and resilience across communities statewide.

Hospitals are the largest industry by revenue in 2023

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With $20.2 billion in revenue, the healthcare sector plays a pivotal role in South Carolina's economy and generates substantial revenue, providing essential services to the state's residents.

With hospitals serving as major economic engines, their continued growth and success contribute significantly to the overall well-being and prosperity of the state.

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Walmart is the largest employer

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With 36,148 employees (1.5% of the state’s employment), Walmart is a major employer in the state and contributes significantly to South Carolina's employment landscape.

The retail giant offers job opportunities and economic stability to many residents. Its extensive workforce underscores the retail giant's significant presence and impact on the state's economy and labor market.

Non-residential construction was $3 billion in 2023

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Ranking third out of all U.S. states, South Carolina's robust construction sector is an example of its ongoing investment and development activities. This contributes to economic growth and infrastructure enhancements statewide.

The state's significant investment in non-residential construction reflects its commitment to fostering a conducive business environment and supporting long-term economic prosperity.

Residential construction was $2.27 billion in 2023

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Ranking 38th out of all U.S. states, South Carolina's thriving residential construction industry reflects strong demand for housing and ongoing urban development initiatives.

With substantial investments in residential construction, South Carolina continues to attract residents and drive population growth, bolstering its economic vitality and vibrancy.

Greenville County is the most populous in the state

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With a population of 543,342, Greenville County is the most populous in South Carolina and serves as a hub of economic activity and population growth. Its large and diverse population underscores the county's significance as a major economic center within the state.

South Carolina’s industries are projected to grow by 12.6% or by 261,000 jobs between 2020-2030

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With robust job growth expected across many industries over the next six years, South Carolina is poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities and strengthen its position as a dynamic and thriving economic powerhouse.

Registered nurse is the #1 in-demand job

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With a growing demand for health care professionals, registered nurses play a crucial role in South Carolina's healthcare industry, addressing the state's healthcare needs and contributing to its overall well-being.

Bottom line

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As South Carolina's economy continues to evolve and expand, it presents a wealth of opportunities for residents and investors alike. From its robust manufacturing sector to its thriving health care industry, the state's diverse economic landscape offers ample potential for growth and prosperity.

As you consider the future of South Carolina's economy, what opportunities do you see for further development and innovation? Consider South Carolina if you’re looking for job opportunities and a state economy with a positive outlook.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.

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