Near-record investment, strongest job growth in 8 years, diverse industry attraction, new strategic plans portend economic vitality continuing into future
GREENVILLE, S.C. – January 18, 2023 – Despite record inflation, unsettled supply chains, a strengthening US dollar and workforce challenges the world over, Mark Farris knows this for certain.
Greenville is blessed with a vibrant community and outstanding quality of life, and business the world over wants to be a part of it.
Armed with a new and forward-looking strategic plan that will continue to focus efforts and maximize return on investment for the community long into the future, Mr. Farris — Chief Executive Officer of the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) — announced another exceptionally strong year for economic development in Greenville, South Carolina’s largest county, also referred to as the business heartbeat of the Palmetto State.
Assisted by the GADC, some 22 organizations – manufacturing and office, new companies and existing industry, large and small, public and private — have chosen to locate to or expand in Greenville County, South Carolina during 2022. Combined, the organizations represent $470 million in new capital investment to enhance the tax base plus 2,326 new jobs – the strongest year since 2016 — to keep Greenville’s economy humming.
The GADC, entering its 22nd year and charged with promoting and enhancing quality of life in Greenville County by facilitating job growth and investment, termed it “a continuation of a remarkable run for Greenville County economic development,” said Mr. Farris. GADC.
“It’s a testament to the work of so many people that Greenville, despite the global challenges of Covid, inflation, workforce challenges and hyper-competition, continues to be such an attractive and appealing destination for organizations the world over to want to live in and conduct business from,” said Mr. Farris. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team, our Board and our Investors and allies, and the year’s results speak for themselves.”
The $468 million in new capital investment ranks third highest ever for the county’s new investment, trailing only 2020 and 2014, while the job additions are the highest one-year level since 2016. The achievement pushed the GADC’s five-year new investment to $1.8 billion and its new job creation to 9,239. Cumulative job announcements by the GADC since its founding now total over 34,600 during its history – the equivalent of creating the 13th largest city in the state right here in Greenville County.
“The capital investment greatly adds to our community’s economic vitality, diversity, and tax base. And the announced jobs, with mean wages well above both County and South Carolina averages, portend a bright future for our community. Raising per capita income is always a primary goal in our efforts, and we continue to raise the bar.”
The industries are diverse, with 13 of 22 announcements being in GADC’s core target industries, and 15 of them in Manufacturing verticals, which are a historical strength for Greenville County. The year saw strong response from automotive, life sciences, and office/headquarters, which “helps to provide a varied economy that is robust and multi-faceted. Equally of note is that half of the announcements are from our existing industry,” Mr. Farris added.
“We can be confident that our community is doing the right things when existing industry decides to invest limited resources to expand here in Greenville,” said Mr. Farris. “The decision on where to place those investments and where to expand is incredibly competitive, and there is no stronger endorsement of a community being business friendly than winning more than our fair share of such expansions here for Greenville.”
Continued spec development of both industrial parks and office/industrial space has fueled interest in the community at a time when businesses make fast decisions on where to locate or expand – and require communities to have near-ready property and sites for consideration, he added. He referenced the growth and new development at Fox Hill Business Park, Augusta Grove, Main Street Labs, University Ridge, and other locations as helping to drive continuing interest in the community, boding well for future growth.
The exercise of developing the GADC’s first-ever formal strategic economic development plan was both timely and healthy, added Mr. Farris.
“It provided us the opportunity to examine our strengths and weaknesses, our competition for quality growth, and industries to emphasize going forward that will best complement our vision for this community,” he said. “The contributions from many collaborative minds ranging from our Board of Directors to industry and economic development leaders, civic organizations, elected officials and others have helped us to develop a sound blueprint to continue to guide Greenville County growth efforts into the future.”
The strategic planning process was led by the GADC Board of Directors, staff and representatives from TIP Strategies of Austin, Texas — a nationally recognized strategic planning consultancy to public and private sector clients the world over. Additional details on the learnings and strategies in the strategic plan will be released shortly, Mr. Farris added.
Mr. Farris also saluted the community’s ongoing commitment to nurturing start-ups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, expanding emphasis on STEM education, and noted Greenville County continues to attract widespread attention for its smart growth, productive workforce, and its affordability.
“It takes support and leadership from many parties –Greenville County Council and the county’s tremendous staff, the cities and municipalities we work with, and the many members of the GADC Investor base and private sector who play key roles — to produce these results,” he noted.
Since its founding in mid-2001, the GADC team’s efforts have resulted in the announcement of more than 34,600 new jobs and more than $6.6 billion in capital investment in Greenville County. To learn more, please visit www.goGADC.com or call (864) 235-2008. To learn more about workforce opportunities, visit www.jobsingreenvillesc.com.