SPARTANBURG — Companies pledged more than $4 billion in economic investment combined in Spartanburg County during 2022, doubling the amount announced from the previous year.
In 2021, total investment pledges by companies reached $1.9 billion, with 4,045 new jobs announced. The total investments announced in 2022 reached $4.2 billion, with 2,145 new jobs.
Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt told The Post and Courier between 14 and 20 new projects are expected to be announced in the first and second quarters of 2023.
“It’s been historic the amount of dollars invested in Spartanburg County coming off of last year,” Britt said. “When I came to office in May 1991 … we had $5 million invested and 185 jobs announced for the whole year. All of this hasn’t happened because of one item. It’s been made possible through the partnerships we have throughout the county, state and with OneSpartanburg.”
BMW Group announced plans on Oct. 19 of $1.7 billion in new investment and expansion at Plant Spartanburg’s operation to prepare for the production of electric vehicles. Of that money, $700 million will be used to build a new high-voltage battery assembly facility in Woodruff. Signs on Highway 101 in Woodruff mark the site of the future battery assembly facility only a few miles from downtown Woodruff.
It wasn’t the only major economic announcement in 2022 for the county. Visual Comfort and Company announced in November it would create 125 new jobs and invest $62 million. Greenridge Generations announced in January it would invest $264 million and create 40 tech-sector jobs.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the economy was still driven by the textile industry. Britt said when the textile industry collapsed more than 25,000 jobs were lost in the region. Since then, the local economy has become more diversified.
“Our workforce is highly skilled and make the finest products of anywhere in the world,” Britt said.
Johnnie-Lynn Crosby, regional director of business solutions for SC Works Greater Upstate, said job growth in the Upstate has been on a faster pace than other areas of South Carolina and is expected to continue into early 2023.
“We don’t anticipate it to slow down anytime soon,” Crosby said. “The Upstate region is certainly seeing quite a bit of growth. The state as a whole is seeing growth but a large percentage of the jobs are coming to the Upstate, and Spartanburg County has been a part of that.”
Crosby said Inland Port Greer continues to boost the region’s economy and the Upstate’s infrastructure supports future growth. The largest increases in job growth have come from the manufacturing and logistics sectors, Crosby said.
Spartanburg Community College’s role in training workers has helped recruit companies to the area. The college’s 400,000-square-foot Spark Center on the Tyger River Campus has space for training and small business development. Six companies are using space at the Spark Center.
“It’s been a real game changer with economic development and recruitment,” said Colton Grace, Spartanburg Community College director of strategic communications. “Growth has not slowed down in Spartanburg — and the Upstate, in general — so we are doing our best to make sure our programs meet the demands working with local and regional partners.”
Pledged investments and new jobs by companies operating in Spartanburg County during 2022 included the following:
- BMW Group: $1.7 billion investment and 300 jobs for Plant Spartanburg electric vehicle expansion
- BMW Press Shop expansion: $200 million investment and 200 jobs
- Visual Comfort and Company: $62 million investment and 125 jobs
- Ingram Micro expansion: $37 million investment and 203 jobs
- Winar Connection Incorporated: $5 million investment and 50 jobs
- Boysen USA: $4.5 million investment and 88 jobs