11 Jan 2016

What drives the Carolinas?

Topped only by Oregon in 2014, in both North and South Carolina, sixty-one percent of all moves were inbound, according to the 2014 Annual National Movers Study by United Van Lines.

So what is it, aside from our great weather and gorgeous scenery that drives people to make our area home?

First, to put the Carolinas’ economies in context with the overall U.S. economy, CNN.com, says there are a handful of top national drivers, including health care, which has benefited from the shifting demographics of the U.S. population.

The article also predicts that relatively cheap energy costs in the U.S. will encourage manufacturers to bring more jobs back to America, which could mean the return of some of those jobs to the Carolinas.

Lower fuel costs could also benefit our area automakers and the auto industry overall, due to increased consumer spending and less pain at the pump once again driving sales for SUVs.

Another key to future economic growth in our area could be infrastructure—roads, bridges, overpasses, flood management—and other improvements necessary to keep the entire U.S. economy humming along.

North Carolina

Over the last year, North Carolina experienced +18.5% growth in population—twice the national average.  Within the Old North State’s borders, accessible community college and university systems and outstanding private institutions constantly contribute new talent—and sports rivals—to the state’s workforce.

Jim Captain, Managing Director for Credit Suisse in Research Triangle Park describes here how state and local government and the academic and business communities work together to support business growth in North Carolina.

And since 1995, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have helped bring more than 14,600 jobs to the state and have generated over two billion dollars in direct economic impact for the state. Think of that as being billions of dollars better than N.C. winning the Power Ball!

Wondering where all that traffic on I-85, I-77, I-40 and I-26 is going? Well, North Carolina’s central east coast location and extensive transportation infrastructure is situated within a 700-mile radius  of more than 170 million U.S. and Canadian consumers who want and need goods and food.

Transitioning out of service from North Carolina’s ten military installations representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, over 10,000 individuals enter the workforce annually. They are highly trained in fields such as aviation and avionics, communications, engineering, heavy equipment, information technology, and transportation and logistics. To which companies and businesses give an enthusiastic, “Yes, Sir!”

In addition to defense, major industries in North Carolina  include aviation, automotive, trucking, biotech, pharma, business and finance, energy and information, and communications technologies.

The state’s 2015 GDP was $481.9 billion—ranking the state 9th in the U.S.

South Carolina and the Upstate

South Carolina economic drivers are determined in a region where cost of living is overall lower  than the national average, and climate, geographical, cultural and recreational opportunities appeal to a diverse range of people and businesses.

Like its sister state to the north, South Carolina is a busy transportation hub, with Ports Authority (SCPA) reporting $6.3 billion in annual economic activity in the low country and $53 billion statewide, according to the results of a study released on SCPA’s role as an economic driver.

Automaker BMW and tire maker Michelin anchor a cluster of foreign-owned manufacturers that enjoy proximity to multimodal transportation networks the I-85 and I-26 corridors. In 2014, BMW shipped out more than 260,000 cars from its Greer, S.C. plant. So, beep-beep. This area is on the move and going global.

And continuing to supply a high-level employee base, Clemson University and the City of Greenville in the Upstate recently opened an International Center for Automotive Research, a state-of-the-art industrial scale lab and education facility that emphasizes technical training to succeed in the increasingly technologically advanced field of automotive manufacturing. Clemson also opened the Erwin Center for the Study of Advertising and Communication  in support of the area’s burgeoning creative and agency opportunities.

The top industries in the 10-county area of Upstate South Carolina include manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, technical and scientific professions, retail, wholesale and transportation.

In 2014, the real GDP of South Carolina amounted to 174.57 billion U.S. dollars.

So, if you’ve been wondering what brings so many wonderful people to the Carolinas, now you know a little more about what might be driving their move—and our whole economy!

DJ Stephan Blog 
DJ Stephan
President, Allen Tate Relocation
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