December 28, 2016

2016 Best Performing Cities

The Milken Institute

Charleston-North Charleston, SC, inches up one spot to 16th. From 2010 to 2015, its high-tech economy grew 20 percent faster than the nation overall, resulting in a regional high-tech concentration roughly equal to the national average in 2015. The metro performed strongly on the one- and fiveyear job and wage measures, ranking in the top quarter of cities in all five job and wage indicators.

With major auto manufacturers and aerospace firms located in the region, the Charleston-North Charleston metro added 3,700 jobs in the transportation equipment manufacturing category from 2010 to 2015. Firms are continuing to invest in the region. In 2015, Daimler announced its plan to build a $500 million plant in North Charleston that will manufacture Mercedes-Benz vans and add 1,360 jobs. The availability of training for the local workforce, proximity to the Port of Charleston, and financial incentives were cited as reasons for selecting the site.70 BMW announced that its exports from the Port of Charleston were valued at $9.8 billion in 2015.71 The completion of the Panama Canal expansion is expected to drive up movement through the Port of Charleston.

Home to the Charleston Digital Corridor, the Charleston-North Charleston metro has seen 2,300 jobs added in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector over the past five years. Startup firms like BiblioBoard, a digital publishing platform that helps libraries improve the quality and scope of patrons' online experience,72 have expanded significantly in recent years.

Public-sector employment has also increased in the metro, with local government adding 700 jobs in 2015. The number of federal employees has increased by 7 percent over the past five years, ranking seventh in the nation for the number of new jobs added.

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