Charleston, South Carolina Among Top 10 Fastest Growing Mid-Sized Metro Economies in the Nation

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Recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show which mid-sized metros have the fastest growing economies for 2017. Growth is measured by the percentage change in employment between the annual average of 2016 and 2017. Headlight Data ranks employment growth for 55 mid-sized metros (500,000 up to 1 million people) in the U.S.

In 2017, U.S. employment grew 1.4%. Among mid-sized metros, the highest growth is found in Provo (4.8%), Boise City (3.7%), and Stockton (3.7%. Ogden, Palm Bay, and Colorado Springs follow.

Coming in at #9 is Charleston, South Carolina with a growth rate 2.34%, almost 1% ahead of the United States growth rate.

The lowest employment growth is found in Youngstown (-1.7%), Bridgeport (-0.9%), and Wichita (-0.8%). Toledo, Baton Rouge, and Syracuse follow.

Complete report and analysis

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10 Ways Charleston, S.C. has changed for the worse

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By Mark A. Leon

Charleston, South Carolina has taken on a new face.

The new modernized Charleston, with a focus on increasing tourism, corporate infrastructure, increased pricing, more crowded streets, cranes owning the skyline, traffic bottlenecks in all directions and inflationary spikes may be helping this booming economy, but it isn’t what everyone wants.? There are a great many that miss the local first, charming historic appeal of the old Charleston.? We wanted to share some of the ways Charleston has changed for the worse based on social chatter and mood indicators of those that live and breath the Lowcountry air.

10 Ways Charleston, S.C. has changed for the worse

  • Folly Beach is modernizing and monetizing – In case you blinked, there have been some significant changes to our favorite area beach.? We would like to emphasize a few:? 1.? Folly Beach is now charging entrance fees to its street festivals including this weekend’s Folly Gras.? 2.? Arctic has implemented paid parking on the streets.? 3.? The beach entrance parking lots no longer accept money in an envelope.? You must use a phone app to pay for your parking.? 4.? New construction is spiking around the area of Center Street.? 5.? Finally, a digital sign has been added on Folly Road.
  • Local First in downtown Charleston is a thing of the past?– Remember:? Bluestein’s Clothing, Morris Sokol Furniture, Bob Ellis Shoes, King Street Grille, Piggly Wiggly and Hughes Lumber – If you are a local and have been for a number of generations, you are seeing familiar businesses close faster than we can keep count.? There is a simple explanation: the percentage of tourists is growing year over year and the percentage of local patrons is shrinking due to the overcrowded conditions caused by this spike in tourism.
  • Corporate billboards are taking over the city – You need not have lived here long to see the rise of corporate foundations in downtown Charleston and beyond.? Let us highlight some of the big entrances into our charming community:? Starbucks and Whole Foods (West Ashley), Starbucks (James Island), Walgreens (Corner of King and Calhoun), 5 Guys Burgers, Moe’s Southwestern, 3 Starbucks on King Street, West Elm, Louis Vuitton, IHOP, Publix, Vans, Aldo, Forever 21, H&M and more to come in downtown Charleston.
  • Church steeples beautifying the skyline is becoming a thing of the past – Cranes, construction, cranes, construction – That has been the look of our skyline for five plus consecutive years with no indication of a slowing in development.? With the massive projects in the medical district, the corner of Crosstown and Lockwood, across from Joe Riley, Upper King Street and Upper Meeting Street, Charleston is changing forever and rapidly.
  • Charleston is more becoming more known for breweries than the churches of the Holy City – Don’t commit to this number, but we now have over 30 breweries in the Lowcountry and it is estimated there is a brewery for every 10K – 12K citizens in the county.? I am not sure if that is worth celebrating or very alarming.? Charleston is now becoming more known for its craft beer than its history and Holy City architectural charm.
  • Tourism first, local second – We had another record year of tourism.? It is estimated 4.2 million people came through the Charleston International Airport in 2017.? That does not even factor in car traffic.? That is a big number.? It is great for our local economy, but it is a pain point for locals who are fearing the inconveniences of spending time in Charleston.? This truly is a shame.? It is one thing to pledge “Buy Local”, but another to take action to ensure it is happening.
  • Reasonable commutes have vanished – There isn’t much to say here.? You just need to live it every day to understand.
  • Taxation is disrupting local commerce and recreation – I was recently in Minneapolis and Philadelphia where restaurant food and alcohol tax are 6.0%.? I was pleasantly shocked.? For those that have never been here and plan a trip in the near future, this is a key piece of information:? Charleston County sales tax is 9.5%, restaurant food tax is 10.5% and restaurant alcohol tax is 15%.
  • Increased parking rates and penalties have crippled locals ambition to spend time on the peninsula – It was only a few years ago, you could park in a garage on a Sunday and pay a flat fee of $5.00.? It was just over 10 years ago, that a parking ticket cost $10.? Some even remember $7.00.? Now that fine is $45.00 and a garage will cost you $20.00 or more for just a few hours.? There is opportunistic greed and it is very active in our community.
  • Shem Creek has lost its coastal appeal – There is now a parking garage with office suites on the grounds of Shem Creek, a place once known for fishing, kayaking, shrimping and a local coastal hangout.? Times have changed on the Creek.
  • Bonus:? Timeshares in Charleston – If you did not hear the latest news, the Charleston city council approved the development of a 100 unit timeshare on the corner of Calhoun and East Bay in downtown Charleston.

Charleston, SC Ranks #4 for Best Mid-Sized Cities for Jobs Growth in 2018 According to New Study

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New Geography ranks Charleston, South Carolina #4 among mid-sized cities for Best Cities for Jobs Growth in 2018 moving up 3 ranking points from last years study


The methodology for our 2017 ranking,?which seeks to measure the robustness of metro areas’ growth both recently and over time, largely corresponds to that used in previous years. The ranking is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “state and area” unadjusted employment data reported from November 2005 to January 2017.

The data reflect the North American Industry Classification System categories, including total non-farm employment, manufacturing, financial services, business and professional services, educational and health services, information, retail and wholesale trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

We used five measures of growth to rank MSAs over the past 10 years. “Large” areas include those with a current non-farm employment base of at least 450,000 jobs. “Midsize” areas range from 150,000 to 450,000 jobs. “Small” areas have as many as 150,000 jobs. The total number of MSAs included in this year’s rankings is 421.

The index is calculated from a normalized, weighted summary of: 1) recent growth trend: the current and prior year’s employment growth rates, with the current year emphasized (two points); 2) mid-term growth: the average annual 2011-2016 growth rate (two points); 3) long-term momentum: the sum of the 2011-2016 and 2005-2010 employment growth rates multiplied by the ratio of the 2005-2010 growth rate over the 2011-2016 growth rate (one point); 4) current year growth (one point); and 5) the average of each year’s growth rate, normalized annually, for the last 10 years (two points).? The goal of our methodology is to capture a snapshot of the present and prospective employment outlook in each MSA, and these revisions allow the reader to have a better sense of the employment climate in each.

Complete list of Top 98 cities

Charleston, South Carolina Will Break Your Heart

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By Mark A. Leon

Last weekend, a friend, referencing to the social scene of Charleston, made a rather poignant remark, “there are no festivals in Charleston, just drinking events disguised as festivals.”? That comment spoke volumes as I more deeply examined the culture of the Lowcountry.? Several months ago, I wrote a piece referring that Charleston lacks soul and backbone.? The underlying theme of the piece is our indifference or lack of passion around social, economic and life issues.

We flock to the bottle and the gridiron.? Life, for many is surrounded by food, beer, wine, alcohol and football.? It is a lifestyle for many, but one that can suck you in and leave scars.

More importantly, there are selected moral flaws embedded into the lifestyle of the Lowcountry.? Some uncover them early, while others need to truly spend time to be awaked.

Here are some conversation worthy observations that outline why Charleston will ultimately break your heart

  • The Lowcountry is very opportunistic. Don’t get me wrong, competition and business savviness is a good thing.? Ask Gordon Gekko.? With the Lowcounty saturated with small business owners, the need to shake your hand if you shake mine attitude has dampened the mindset of selfless generosity.? It is difficult to partner without the need to provide something in exchange.
  • Entitlement – One should never feel entitled to anything.? It creates greed, apathy and a lack of compassion.? Charleston’s bragging over the annual or semi-annual accolade of one singular publication has created this ugly face of bragging about how great this city is.? That look is not attractive on anyone.? Especially in a city with issues around education reform, economic development, infrastructure, flooding and cost of living hitting critical mass.
  • Charleston is bad for singles. Spend time in a bar, Meetup Group or a book club and discuss the challenges of single life in Charleston.? It is an eye-opening topic.
  • We are a tourism first destination and locals are no longer the priority of our elected officials. The amount of hotel development, increased push on the cruise traffic, skyrocketing cost of living, tax increases and natural land being destroyed for urban expansion has been in our faces for over half a decade and that is showing no signs of slowing down.? Since 2015, The Dewberry, The Spectator, Grand Bohemian, Hyatt Place, Holiday Inn Express are among the structures that are becoming the new Charleston.? The corner of King Street and Calhoun, is now a major brand eye sore with Walgreens, Chipotle, Starbucks, Panera Bread, 5 Guys Burgers, Moe’s Mexican and Carolina Ale House.? The authentic natural historic small down appear of Charleston is a thing of the past now.
  • Morning rush hour, evening rush hour, festival traffic, weekend traffic, downtown traffic, Summerville traffic, 526, 26, 61, 17: ?It is an endless game of stop and go.? With an infrastructure of islands and peninsulas not built to handle the capacity of growth the only solution is increased mass transit or a Light Rail solution.
  • Locals don’t want to co-exist with transplants. Talk to a transplant and ask them how many Charleston born friends they have.? I will bet a silver dollar, you can count them on one hand.? There is a reason for that.

Charleston is a special place.? It has been the backdrop of great cinema, a well sought after wedding destination, one of the most beautiful spots on the East Coast for sunrises and sunsets, incredible, yet uniform, dining options and it is outwardly cordial and friendly.? It also has an underbelly that can suck you in and spit you out.

Knowledge is power and having the right conversations will keep you educated to ensure you have selected the life you want and the place.

T Mobile US : Investing in New Charleston County Operation – 400 New Jobs

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COLUMBIA, S.C., June 28 — The South Carolina Department of Commerce issued the following news release:

T-Mobile US, one of the largest wireless service providers in the United States, is moving its existing customer care center in the Charleston area to a new, larger facility in North Charleston. The company is expected to invest more than $16.7 million in the new facility, creating 400 new jobs.

T-Mobile is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. With its advanced 4G LTE network, the company provides wireless service to 72.6 million customers across the nation through its T-Mobile and MetroPCS flagship brands. T-Mobile customer care centers, like the one in Charleston County, help address customer concerns while delivering world-class service.

T-Mobile expects to move 800 employees, who currently work at its Daniel Island location as customer service representatives, managers, supervisors and staff, to its new location in North Charleston, S.C.Expected to be operational during the first quarter of 2018, the new facility will allow the company to create 400 additional jobs. Hiring for the new positions is projected to begin in November 2017, and interested applicants should visit the company’s careers page for more information.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development awarded a $250,000 Set Aside grant to Charleston County to assist with the costs of building upfit.


“T-Mobile is incredibly excited to open the doors of our new home in North Charleston – our latest and largest customer care center. We pride ourselves on being the best place to work, and this is going to be an amazing new workplace for our current and new Un-carrier experts dedicated to changing wireless for good.” -T-Mobile Customer Care Executive Vice President Callie Field

“The 400 jobs that this investment will create for South Carolinians clearly show T-Mobile’s commitment to our state and our people. We are grateful that this great company has decided to expand here and look forward to the future prosperity that we know will come from this great partnership.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“We couldn’t be more excited to watch a national brand like T-Mobile USexpand its operations in the Palmetto State. T-Mobile’s presence shows the world that we are ready to do business on all levels and in all types of industries.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“Congratulations to T-Mobile on their notable expansion to Charleston County. Repurposing vacant commercial space to a vibrant central hub with significant job numbers is a true economic development success story.” -Charleston County Council Chairman Victor Rawl

“We are happy to see T-Mobile’s commitment in the City of North Charleston. Not only will the company be creating jobs in our region, but T-Mobile will be repurposing a former big box, a creative and adaptive reuse of a formerly-dated structure in North Charleston. They will be a great corporate partner whose investment entails a wide-range of benefits to our community.” -City of North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey

“We have proven ourselves, locally and nationally, as a destination to call on for business growth. We stand eager to assist T-Mobile with their relocation and expansion needs, now and well into the future.” -Charleston County Economic Development Director Steve Dykes


* T-Mobile US is investing in new Charleston County operations.

* $16.7 million investment to create 400 new jobs, bringing total employment on-site to 1,200.

* T-Mobile US is one of the largest wireless providers in the U.S., delivering 4G LTE service to more than 72.6 million customers.

* The company’s new North Charleston customer service center is expected to be operational during the first quarter of 2018.

* Interested applicants should visit the company’s careers page for more information.

Targeted News Service, source News Service

Beer Industry Contributes $3 Billion Annually to South Carolina Economy

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A new economic impact study shows America’s beer industry – made up of brewers and importers; distributors; and retailers – contributes more than $3.3 billion annually to South Carolina’s economy and supports 27,914 jobs in the state.

Jointly commissioned by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Beer Institute, the study shows that the 27,914 jobs impacted by the beer industry in South Carolina account for more than $1 billion in wages and benefits. The industry also generated $404 million in business and personal taxes and paid $288 million in consumption taxes in 2016.

NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser said, “America’s beer distributors are proud to provide nearly 135,000 jobs with solid wages and great benefits to employees at more than 3,000 facilities, located in every state and congressional district across the country. Independent beer distributors generate significant economic contributions in their communities through local business-to-business commerce, investments in local infrastructure and capital assets and tax revenue. Through a wide range of services, distributors work to build beer brands of all kinds – from large, familiar labels to start-up, craft brands and imports from around the world – and to deliver vast consumer choice in the marketplace.”

Beer Institute President & CEO Jim McGreevy said, “Beer serves America at virtually every level of the economy, from the nearly 2.23 million employees, to the small businesses in middle-class communities, and the important tax revenues at the local, state and national levels. From farmers to factory-workers, from brewery-hands to bartenders, beer puts Americans to work.”

According to the study, the beer industry generates more than $350 billion in economic activity, produces nearly $63 billion in tax revenue and supports 2.23 million jobs. Brewers and beer importers directly employ 64,745 Americans. About 58 percent of brewing jobs are linked to large and mid-sized brewers and beer importers, and independent beer distributors directly employ 134,240 Americans.

The Beer Serves America study was compiled by an independent economics firm John Dunham & Associates. It is the most comprehensive analysis of the industry available, using data collected directly from private companies, Dun & Bradstreet, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Beer Industry Contributes $3 Billion Annually to South Carolina Economy – May 24, 2017