January 23, 2013

Charleston, SC: Southern Charm with Big Economic Performance

Charleston Digital Corridor Release

Charleston-Area Named Ninth Best-Performing City for 2012 by Milken Institute

Charleston, South Carolina – January 23, 2013 – The Milken Institutes' 2012 Best-Performing Cities Index ranked the Charleston MSA ninth out of the 200 largest metros across the country, up from eleventh in 2011. The Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth.

According to Milken's Index, the Charleston MSA had the fourth-best high-tech output growth in the nation, which grew nearly 30 percentage points faster than the national average over the five years ending in 2011. In addition, between 2010 and 2011, the metro fostered the eighth-biggest increase in employment growth, largely on the wings of the aerospace industry. Transportation equipment manufacturing added more than 1,500 jobs during that time.

"We are honored to be recognized as the ninth best-performing city in the country," said Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. "This ranking validates Charleston's smart strategy and continued investment in our knowledge economy. The growth of local jobs and technology innovation created by Charleston area companies, like Boeing, Google and the Charleston Digital Corridor's member companies, continue to make Charleston a top-rated city, not just for tourism, but for economic opportunity."

The Index looks at jobs, pay and the technology sector to determine which cities are best at creating and sustaining economic growth. According to Milken, one clear takeaway from all top ranked cities is that communities and industries that embrace technological know-how can claim an enviable advantage.

Recently named "Silicon Harbor," Charleston's technology industry has experienced, and continues to see, rapid growth as 100% of companies participating in the Digital Corridor's 2012 Annual Wage & Job Growth Survey added high-wage jobs in 2012, and 74% expect to continue doing so in the year ahead. Further, in 2012, three technology companies, within a few miles of each other, also made the Inc. 500's list of America's Fastest Growing Companies: BoomTown at #96, O-matic Software at #118 and BiblioLabs at #339.

"Milken's ranking affirms the success of our strategic investments made to accelerate growth in technology," said Ernest Andrade, Director of the Charleston Digital Corridor. "Google's just announced $600 million investment in a third data center, and the announcement by local tech companies Benefitfocus and Sparc of creating 300 new jobs, combined with another 600 jobs by other Digital Corridor members bodes very well for the year ahead."

Charleston's Milken rankings have steadily risen during the past four years – up from no. 30 in 2009, no. 19 in 2010, no. 11 in 2011 to 9th in 2012. A nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank, the Milken Institute works to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital, and enhance health.

About the Charleston Digital Corridor
The Digital Corridor is a creative initiative to attract, nurture and promote Charleston's knowledge economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming. To learn more, visit http://www.charlestondigitalcorridor.com.

Media Contact:
Name: Ernest Andrade
Email: ernest@charlestondigitalcorridor.com
Phone: 843.724.3773