Military community adds more than $34B to state’s economy each year

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A new study on the military community’s economic impact on South Carolina found that the Charleston community receives the largest share.

The study, conducted by University of South Carolina research economist Joey Von Nessen found the military community contributes more than $34 billion to the state’s economy annually through three components: the eight military installations across the state, more than 600 contractors working with those installations, and the service members in South Carolina themselves.

“South Carolina’s military community is critical not only to our state but to our nation as a whole,” Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Speaker of the House) said.

The study found that $34.3 billion makes up about 11 percent of South Carolina’s economy.

The report states the military community directly or indirectly supports more than a quarter of a million jobs, about one in every nine jobs in the state.

The regions of the state feeling this the most are where those installations are located.

The Charleston area leads the way with Joint Base Charleston responsible for much of that. The Columbia Midlands region is next, thanks in large part to Fort Jackson.

“But the military’s footprint truly extends statewide to all of South Carolina’s 46 counties,” Von Nessen says. “That’s because the installations themselves are located throughout the state, but the contractors that are supporting them are also located throughout the state, and we also have to think about the veterans and the retirees also living all across South Carolina.”

The $34 billion figure represents about a 35-percent increase from the last time this study was completed a few years ago.

Von Nessen says part of that is because of an actual increase in economic activity.

But he says this time, the study itself was more thorough, for example, taking into account those service members who may work right across the river in the Augusta area at Fort Gordon, but live and spend their money here in South Carolina.

The study was commissioned by the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

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