CHARLESTON SC BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
According to ACCRA Business Index
figures, the Charleston area's cost-of-living composite for housing,
health care, groceries, utilities, transportation, and goods and
services is lower than average for American metropolitan areas, and
the South Carolina tax burden is lower than the U.S. average for
taxes on property, sales and use, individual and corporate income.
Charleston's economy continues to grow stronger, attracting new
cutting-edge business and industry with competitive incentive
packages that include tax exemptions and low-cost training and
recruiting programs, less costly power rates, advanced skill and
education of the local work force, as well as premiere
transportation facilities and growing customer base. Charleston
ranks among the top ten U.S metropolitan areas in percentage of
college-educated residents. Between 2000 and 2006, the number of
scientists, engineers and architects working in Charleston grew 41
per cent and the number of employees in information technology grew
40 per cent, while the same categories nationwide grew only one and
five per cent, respectively.
The local business community features a wealth of high-tech
industry, including advanced aviation systems and design (Global
Aeronautica), pharmaceutical research and development (Nanoscreen),
automotive technologies (Cummins Engine, Robert Bosch Corporation),
digital media and software production (Booksurge, Blackbaud, Inc.),
advanced security (Navigational Sciences), as well as urban planning
and restoration (Clemson University Restoration Institute).
Charleston's economic prosperity has long been based on a diversity
of vigorous enterprises, such as its port, medical university
complex and tourism. The port of Charleston is the sixth-largest
U.S. container facility, moving more than $55 billion in cargo
annually. Serving 40 steamship lines and more than 150 countries,
Charleston was named the most productive container port in the world
by Maersk Lines, and continues to grow with a new 280-acre terminal
scheduled to open in 2013.
The Medical University of South Carolina employs more than 10,000
professionals at its downtown Charleston medical complex, university
campus and research center. Contributing more than $1.65 billion to
the local economy, MUSC awards more than 800 degrees annually,
develops more than $190 million for yearly research grants, and
continues to attract bioscience businesses to the area.
Charleston's tourism industry attracts more than 5 million visitors
and adds more than $5 billion to the local economy each year. For
years, Charleston has been named by Conde Nast Traveler magazine as
one of the top 10 travel destinations in the United States, and the
beautiful atmosphere of the historic city, combined with its warm
climate, stunning beaches, and first-class golfing and dining, has
maintained a steady flow of tourist business regardless of the
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