South Carolina’s aerospace industry cluster is one of the largest in the state, according to a study released by the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness.
The study finds that there are more than 350 aerospace companies operating in the state that, together, employ 54,881 people, creating a $24.8 billion economic impact.
“Aerospace is a superstar in our state,” said Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina, who did the study. “When you look at employment growth in the state as a whole and what is happening in the aerospace industry, there is a very dramatic difference, with the average annual growth rate of the SC aerospace core being over 25%.”
“The reports that we’ve seen from this study and previous aerospace studies indicate that the growth in the aerospace industry and specifically aerospace manufacturing has far exceeded the state and national average despite downturns that we’ve seen in the economy,” said Adrianne Beasley, director of Aerospace Initiatives for the council.
Von Nessen attributed this to the diversity of the industry across the state.
“Aerospace in South Carolina is more than the major firms that we typically think of,” he said. “It extends beyond the big companies and into small and midsize firm, which are growing at a rate twice as fast as state employment growth. Once they’re here, they’re growing and thriving. They’re coming in, they’re doing well, and they’re thriving. This is a very important piece of the puzzle when we’re looking at what’s happening in the industry.”
Much of the economic growth can be pegged to Boeing opening a manufacturing and assembly plant in North Charleston next to the Charleston International Airport (KCHS). The South Carolina plant is one of just two that is a final assembly and delivery point for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Von Nessen’s full presentation can be found online at the SC Aerospace website.