Charleston County Economic Development Releases 30-Year Economic Impact Study

May 16, 2023

Charleston County Economic Development (CCED) released its inaugural economic impact study revealing its efforts contribute $18 billion annually to the Charleston County economy, representing nearly 25% of the county’s GDP. Providing data on jobs, capital investment and economic output, this analysis illustrates a comprehensive assessment of CCED’s total economic impact on the county during its three decades of operation.

CCED was formed in 1993 in response to the Naval Base closure and has been instrumental in fostering a diverse business community by attracting, retaining, and growing major industries within the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, logistics, IT, defense, and life sciences clusters. CCED has worked directly with companies that have collectively facilitated over 39,000 direct jobs and $6.9 billion in capital investment. The study – conducted by Dr. Joseph C. Von Nessen, Research Economist at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business – summarizes how the growth of the county is observed through consistent high employment gains, wage gains, population gains, and gains in the number of business establishments.

“Charleston County represents a major economic success story for the state of South Carolina in which CCED has played an integral part,” stated Dr. Von Nesson. “A key ingredient of the county’s success has been CCED’s ability to help attract a diverse industry base, which leads to higher and more consistent rates of long-run economic growth.”

The study’s findings highlight the importance of Charleston County to the state’s economy and serve as a reminder of the county’s strong potential for growth and development. Additional key findings of the study include:

  • The 72,018 jobs that have been generated through CCED-affiliated activities pay an average wage of $82,874.
  • 43% wage premium for jobs generated either directly or indirectly through CCED-affiliated business activities in Charleston County compared to the average job in Charleston County.
  • 72% of Charleston County residents work within the county.
  • Manufacturing represents approximately 32% of all CCED-supported companies.
  • The largest contributor to the County’s employment gains over the past decade has been the Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services industry sector.

“Looking back to 1993 and where we stand in 2023, I am filled with immense pride,” said Charleston County Economic Development Executive Director Steve Dykes. “Despite the Naval Base closure setback, we persevered and collaborated closely with the Charleston business community over the past thirty years, creating nearly 40,000 new jobs. Through the department’s proactive initiatives and cultivating a welcoming business climate, we have fostered a vibrant and multifaceted economy that has significantly enhanced the well-being of Charleston County’s residents.”

To view the “Economic Impact of CCED: Driving 30 Years of Growth and Expansion in Charleston County” or to learn more about Charleston County Economic Development, visit

About Charleston County Economic Development
For three decades, Charleston County Economic Development Department has been dedicated to establishing and maintaining business relationships with new and existing industries to preserve the Charleston area’s exceptional business climate and quality of life. To learn more about Charleston County Economic Development, visit