S.C. ranks No. 1 in employment by foreign-owned firms

Staff Report
Published Dec. 20, 2013

South Carolina ranked first in the nation for per capita employment by foreign-owned firms investing in 2012, according to a recent IBM report gauging impact of foreign-direct investment.

German, Japanese, French and Chinese firms represent the highest investors in the state. Much of the state’s foreign-direct investment is concentrated in the manufacturing industry.

The annual IBM-Plant Location International Global Location Trends report (.pdf) ranked Alabama, North Carolina, Kansas and Indiana within the top five spots, listed in order behind South Carolina.

The data is derived from IBM’s Global Investment Locations Database, which tracks companies’ announcements of their location and job creation decisions throughout the year.

Currently, there are more than 1,200 operations of foreign-owned companies in South Carolina, employing more than 100,000 residents, according to S.C. Commerce Department data.

The IBM report noted that “in a global environment shaped by rapidly changing business dynamics and greater complexity” it is “becoming more important than ever for locations to understand and continually improve their value proposition to investors.”

Since January 2011, the state has recruited $6.7 billion in capital investment from foreign-owned companies. More than 15,600 jobs associated with foreign firms have been recruited to South Carolina during that time.

“South Carolina has had a successful track record, going back at least four decades, in recruiting foreign-based companies to the state,” S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said in a news release. “Our skilled workforce, access to growing markets, business-friendly environment and our logistics infrastructure are key assets that make South Carolina particularly attractive for this kind of investment.”

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