Based on a recent Clemson University study, the economy of the Upstate region of the state is shifting, and the change appears to be moving in a positive direction.
Clemson University Institute for Economic and Community Development studied employment gains by industry cluster between the years 2000 and 2008. The study team, led by Economics Professor David Hughes says employment shifted from textiles and construction services to hospitality and health.
Hughes says the Upstate’s growing retiree population likely contributed to growth in the health services sector.
The 9,115 jobs created in the health services sector over an eight year period, is slightly below the 9,224 jobs gained in the hospitality industry during the same period. Hughes says the City of Greenville has made a concerted effort to enhance its downtown area, coupled with strategic planning to attract and plan events.
In terms of innovation, the Greenville economic area generated 11 patents per 10,000 workers over the eight year period. Hughes says the data shows that Greenville is moving more to a knowledge based economy.
Reflecting a statewide trend in recent decades, the textile and apparel industry lost over 37,000 jobs during the eight year period. Heavy construction services were next, losing 10,960 jobs. Hughes says while the study shows positive movement, the efforts are hamstrung by the ongoing recession.
AUDIO: Hughes says Greenville has the potential for more economic growth