Gov. Mark Sanford today commented on a string of encouraging national rankings for South Carolina's business climate. Last week, Business Facilities magazine ranked South Carolina Number 1 nationally for "Economic Growth Potential," Number 4 nationally for "Best Business Climate," and Number 3 nationally for "Automotive Manufacturing Strength" (http://tinyurl.com/28luxgt). This came only days after South Carolina was again named among the Top 5 Business-Friendly States by Pollina Corp of Chicago (http://tinyurl.com/32o5afv).
"Given the challenging economic headwinds felt by many across this state and beyond, these national rankings alongside recent jobs and investment numbers from the South Carolina Department of Commerce are an encouraging sign. So while our state's jobs picture is still not where we'd like it to be, this national recognition underscores the importance of sustainable spending, low taxes and regulatory reform that will help small businesses -- the same small businesses that are key to long-term job creation here in South Carolina.
"Specifically, I'd give real credit to Secretary Joe Taylor and his hard-working team at Commerce for their recruitment efforts. Indeed, over the last several months we've made six 1,000-plus job announcements -- from Boeing in the Lowcountry to Red Ventures in Lancaster and Samsung in the Upstate. We've outpaced the competition as well, ranking first in the entire Southeast in 2009 in job recruitment. South Carolina also received the 2009 Silver Shovel Award winner for economic development projects, and won the 2009 Business Facilities Magazine "Deal of the Year' award for Boeing's arrival. In fact, Boeing's decision to land in North Charleston last fall marked the largest economic development announcement in state history. And only weeks ago, the German-based BMW-supplier ZF announced plans to invest $350 million and create 900 new jobs in Laurens County -- a record for that county as well.
"It's worth noting that our efforts have not only focused on landing the big fish like Boeing, but that we're also intent on improving workforce training and keeping rural development a priority. Joe and his team deserve recognition here as well, with their efforts proving integral in this year's ongoing reforms at the Employment Security Commission (now the Department of Employment and Workforce), and his dedication to rural economic development paying dividends -- with six recent project announcements in Hampton, Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell Counties totaling 1,139 new jobs. On the workforce front, we've expanded our state's QuickJobs training program, led the nation by certifying over 100,000 South Carolinians for Career Readiness, and graduated 94 percent of our Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG-SC) students, easily besting the national standard.
"Back in October of 2009, when Boeing had just announced it would put a second assembly line in North Charleston, I cautioned that this was no time for South Carolina to rest on its laurels. Instead, we needed to redouble our efforts. That's exactly what we've been doing, and I'm pleased to say we're continuing to meet with success."