The Global Location Trends Report ranked South Carolina as the fourth-best location in North America for investment projects. Ontario, Canada led the list, just released by IBM. Ontario was followed by Virginia, which moved up from tenth position, followed by Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Quebec, North Carolina, California, Illinois and Indiana. The report estimates that South Carolina added approximately 5600 jobs last year. The Palmetto State was not even on the top list the year before.
In an interview with the South Carolina Radio Network, Governor Sanford says the potential for development is a matter of creating the “right soil.”
“Many of the things that we in this administration have been working on about soil conditions. It does matter that we passed the largest recurring tax cut in South Carolina history. It matters that the first tort reform bill went through that impacted our legal climate and that the first-of-its-kind workers’ comp went through. And there’s the bi-state compact with the Governor of Georgia about the Jasper County Port,” says Sanford.”
The state has had its share of industrial announcements this week. Governor Sanford joined with the Department of Commerce and Lancaster County community Wednesday in welcoming Red Venture, as the Charlotte company expands operations and moves headquarters to South Carolina. That will mean 1,000 new jobs and a $27 million investment for Lancaster County. The Internet technology company was named the 17th fastest-growing private firm in the US by Inc. magazine last year.
Just the day before, South Carolina won out over North Carolina and Florida in attracting the Jetline company, which will bring 247 jobs to Gaffney. Jetline creates customized promotional products for business.
Sanford says his administration has worked hard over the last six years to communicate the good word about South Carolina to prospective industries around the world. “I think we have a great story to be told, which is that we’re midway in the South Atlantic, one of the real growth hubs of the country. We’ve got infrastructure with the criscrossing of the interstates, deep water access to the rest of the world through our port system. It’s our job in conjunction with the Department of Commerce to tell that story and we’ve tried hard to do that.”
But Sanford says the biggest drivers of the state’s or nation’s economy are small businesses: “They’re unsung heroes. There’s no ribbon cutting, no fanfare. But when that little business adds one employee or two employees and you multiply them by all the small businesses in our state and country, they really are the backbone of job creation. And I think that is probably the most important effort.”
Sanford says the recession has of course hurt development across the US, but he says that South Carolina has done well comparatively. “If you measure us up against other states in the Southeast, or up against what has been historic in terms of averages, there was more than $4 billion in new investment last year in South Carolina, a record-breaking year. And that was preceded by another record-setting year, another $4 billion. Some good things are happening.”