2019 Regional Report: The Southeast

October 11, 2019

Chief Executive

By Craig Guillot

Already home to some of the nation’s fastest-growing manufacturing and tech hubs, the Southeast is reaping the benefits of investments in educational and economic development initiatives. Alabama recently logged a record year of growth with thriving foreign direct investment. Tennessee lured Mitsubishi Motors, and a merger of giants in Georgia is solidifying the state’s status as a leader in payment processing. Florida is home to some of the country’s fastest-growing metro areas, while North Carolina attracts Fortune 500 headquarters with its strong workforce.


Global Growth in the Palmetto State

A perennial manufacturing powerhouse, South Carolina set a record for total export sales for the ninth consecutive year in 2018. Top export commodities were vehicles and parts, aircrafts, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and parts. South Carolina now has a 16 percent market share of the entire U.S. passenger market, and top export countries include China, Canada, Germany and Mexico. “We’ve cultivated a globally connected economy in South Carolina, and last year’s export sales total reflects that,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt in a press release.

Aerospace has been a particularly growing sector. French aerospace supplier AHG Fasteners-USA announced in June 2019 it will open a new U.S. operations in Charleston, citing the availability of skilled workers and proximity to Boeing as major factors in the location decision. “Not only is Charleston ideally suited as a distribution hub for both domestic and overseas customers, the business-friendly climate, the support from the regional economic development authorities and other partners have been extremely welcoming,” said Francoise Montsarrat, AHG executive vice president, in a press release on the opening.

AHG is the sixth company to locate in the region as part of the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Charleston Regional Development Alliances’ Landing Pad program, which supports global companies as they enter the U.S. market.

Read the entire 2019 Southeast Regional report here.