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Manufacturing rich Upstate celebrates National Manufacturing Day

It’s National Manufacturing Day – a day with major significance in the Upstate where about 20 percent of the workforce is employed in manufacturing and where almost 2,000 manufacturing companies call home.

Located in Spartanburg County near Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, BMW Manufacturing Co. is the Upstate’s largest manufacturing employer with 11,000 associates. BMW celebrated 25 years of production in the Upstate on Sept. 30 where production has increased to more than 1,500 vehicles daily, according to company officials who expect to have exported more than 5 million cars by early 2020. BMW has expanded its Greer manufacturing facility five times since opening in 1994 and is now the largest BMW plant in the world.

BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer, SC

Michelin North America is the Upstate’s second-largest manufacturing employer at 7,005. In addition to its North American headquarters in Greenville and Michelin Proving Grounds in Laurens, Michelin operates Upstate tire manufacturing facilities in Greenville, Anderson and Spartanburg counties.

Rounding out the Top 5 manufacturers in the Upstate is General Electric Gas Turbine in Greenville County with 4,220; ZF Transmissions in Laurens County with 2,700; and Robert Bosch in Anderson County with 2,400.

Once known as the Textile Capital of the World, the Upstate in recent years has enjoyed a diversified economy with accelerated growth in engineered materials, aerospace, automotive and life sciences. Home to several public/private research centers such as the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) in Greenville, the Upstate is nationally recognized for its business-oriented, collaborative environment.

Manufacturing is South Carolina’s economic backbone

As the voice of South Carolina manufacturing, we asked the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA) for its Top 7 facts about manufacturing in the state:

  • The average salary for a manufacturing job is $71,123; the average salary for other jobs in the state of South Carolina is $43,939.
  • The manufacturing sector employs 239,500 – approximately 12% of all South Carolinians.
  • There are more than 5,000 manufacturing businesses in South Carolina.
  • Manufacturing’s share of South Carolina’s GSP (Gross State Product) is $35.16 Billion. That’s 16.8% of the state’s entire GDP.
  • In 2016, South Carolina manufacturers exported $30.7 billion in total goods, or 97% of all exports.
  • Nearly 48% of South Carolina goods go to neighboring NAFTA countries.
  • Almost 29.9% of all manufacturing jobs in SC depend on exports for their jobs.

Inspiring the next generation of manufacturers

National Manufacturing Day celebrates advanced manufacturing careers to encourage and inspire the next generation of manufacturers. SCMA has introduced an innovative approach to address the ongoing challenge of identifying emerging talent and developing skilled manufacturing associates. SC Future Makers is a private/public partnership designed to take the manufacturing message to students, parents, educators and policy makers. Learn more about SC Future Makers here.

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