Amazon distribution centers boosting job recruitment

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published April 9, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina is in a good spot when it comes to supply chain management and operations, according to David Clayton, director of research at the S.C. Department of Commerce.

Almost 150,000 workers are moving products across the state, making up about 7.5% of the workforce, Clayton said during the second annual S.C. Supply Chain Summit recently held at the College of Charleston’s Beatty Center.

The state is poised for more growth as online retail continues to expand, Clayton said. Amazon.com’s distribution centers in Lexington and Spartanburg counties, for example, created 14 of the 20 recent largest projects in South Carolina in terms of job recruitment, Clayton said.

He said South Carolina is a favorable location for companies because moving products is cheap — gas prices are lower in S.C. than many other parts of the country— the state has railroad and interstate highway coverage, and companies have access to a deep and busy port.

“If you’re close to the highway, then it’s easier for your trucks to come in and out, and (easier for) your workers. It’s a little less expensive to operate a plant,” Clayton said. “When we look at sites and buildings around the state to help clients locate, highway accessibility is key.”

Clayton also said companies appreciate low union rates, low industrial electricity rates, low industrial construction costs and low corporate income tax rates.

South Carolina is ranked No. 4 for supply chain and logistics job recruitment, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce. Delaware leads the U.S. with 13 jobs per 10,000, followed by Indiana with 10.7 per 10,000. Kentucky, with 9.1, is just ahead of the Palmetto State at 9.0. Mississippi rounded out the top five, followed by Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Alabama and Tennessee.

“All but three of these states have had a large Amazon.com distribution center. So that’s really driving these numbers quite a bit, and we’re no exception to that,” Clayton said.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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