Greenville County Economic Development Results Portend Bright Future

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Formed in 2001 by Greenville County Council to recruit new companies, and to help companies already here prosper, the Greenville Area Development Corporation celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  In honor of the occasion, the organization worked with the USC Moore School of Business and Dr. Joey Von Nessen to review and assess the impact of GADC activities over the past two decades.

The results are impressive.

The economic impact of GADC activities were accounted for in both direct and indirect influence on the Greenville County economy.  The study concluded that the continuing impact of the 300+ companies we have helped locate or expand here exceeds $6 billion annually and sustains 64,784 jobs in Greenville County alone. When the 10-county Upstate region is considered, the total economic impact of Greenville’s success climbs to $6.9 billion annually and support of 82,693 jobs.

Greenville County has also realized significant industry diversification in the last decade, critical to boosting our long-run economic growth rates and insulating the county from major downturns in any one sector.  This is evidenced in Greenville County’s rapid rebound following the dramatic rise in unemployment caused by the COVID pandemic.  By April 2020, state unemployment had spiked from 2.8 to 11.5% due to the pandemic; in February 2021, Greenville County unemployment has already improved to 4.5% — well below South Carolina’s 5.2% and fourth lowest in the state.

The study documents that almost one in four jobs in Greenville County’s employment base can be attributed to GADC activities, with Dr. Von Nessen noting, “GADC-affiliated announcements include an employment multiplier effect of 2.1, meaning that for every 10 jobs following business announcements tied directly to GADC-affiliated activities, an additional 11 jobs are created elsewhere in the county.” He noted that this employment multiplier effect increases to an estimated value of 2.6 when extending the analysis to the broader Upstate region — far higher than the average industry in South Carolina at 1.6.”

While GADC is the organization credited with these outcomes, we fully admit that none of this is possible without the incredible cooperation and partnership the organization maintains with groups integral to the economic development process.  The Greenville County Council and staff, GADC Board of Directors, municipal allies and especially our GADC Investors all play a vital role in producing these results.

As we slowly wake from the COVID nightmare, the dawn of this new decade has begun to reveal promising signs of a brighter future.  Recently named by economic researchers at CBRE as “one of the most resilient business communities during the pandemic”, Greenville is positioned to take full advantage of the ‘new normal’ economy.

If the past 20 years are any indication, an even brighter future lies ahead of us.

Mark Farris
President & CEO


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GADC’s offices are located
in downtown Greenville.

301 University Ridge
Suite N-4300
Greenville, SC 29601 

(864) 235 – 2008

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