The I-85 corridor used to be the undisputed hub of manufacturing in South Carolina. But a handful of new plant announcements later, the Lowcountry has crept up and put its name on the manufacturing map!
“South Carolina manufacturing is now bi-polar: the Upstate and the Lowcountry,” said Frank Hefner, an economist at the College of Charleston. “I wouldn’t claim either one is the center.”
The latest announcement is Volvo Car Corp.’s decision to build a $500 million factory in Berkeley County. Volvo said the factory plans to make 100,000 luxury cars a year and plans to employ up to 4,000 people.
The Lowcountry also landed a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van factory a few months ago in North Charleston.
With both of these announcements, Charleston becomes home to two of the Palmetto State’s three auto plants, though the BMW plant near Greer is by far the largest.
For now, the Upstate is still South Carolina’s biggest manufacturing region with 67,839 manufacturing jobs in the counties of Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The counties of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester only boast 24,650 manufacturing jobs currently.
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