County first in the state for job creation

Lancaster County is first in the state for job creation and fifth for total economic development investments for fiscal 2019, which ended June 30.
The standings were released Friday by the Lancaster County Economic Development Department and are based on job creation announcements released by the S.C. Department of Commerce.
According to the data, almost 1,500 new jobs were created here in the fiscal year, creating a whopping $88.8 million in new investment.
The county tied with Berkeley County for first in the state in combined rankings.
“For the past three years, Lancaster County has been one of the top counties in the state for new and expanding businesses, and these numbers are a confirmation,” said Jamie Gilbert, county economic development director.
The top five for job creation in fiscal ’19 includes Lancaster (1,479), followed by Greenville (1,283), Charleston (720), York (715) and Berkeley (610) counties.
“When I look at these numbers, what jumps out to me is how we fare compared to some of the largest counties in the state. We pale in comparison and don’t have an interstate, but we’ve worked hard to become one of the best business locations in the state,” Gilbert said.
Berkeley ranked at the top of total investment at $643.4 million, followed by Richland ($158.1 million), Dorchester (144.5 million), Spartanburg (93.2 million) and Lancaster ($88.8 million).
None of the numbers include solar farm projects, but Gilbert noted that they are an apples-to-apples comparison.
“It doesn’t capture everything. It is a fairly accurate indicator of economic development generated activity,” said Gilbert, who was named one of the Top 50 professionals nationwide in his field in May.
In January, the S.C. Department of Revenue said Lancaster County has the third-highest per-capita income in the state, at $47,505, trailing only Charleston and Beaufort counties.
County Council Chairman Steve Harper noted that local job creation is being continuously driven by explosive growth in the Panhandle, our proximity to Charlotte, and a lower cost of living, along with the hard work of Gilbert and the economic development staff.
“Jamie’s persistence is paying off for Lancaster County. They continue to work hard and, hopefully, in a couple of months, there’s going to be even more for us to announce,” Harper said.
Last November, Lancaster placed ninth in a nationwide study for drawing new residents, new jobs, skilled workers and developing a more skilled and better-educated workforce.
“We have been on fire and that is a direct reflection of the outstanding businesses we’ve worked with, a tremendous workforce, supportive elected officials and teamwork,” Gilbert said.

By Gregory A. Summers, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News