The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness is a nonpartisan, business-led non-profit organization committed to advancing the long-term economic competitiveness of our state, industries, and citizens. Our work is accomplished through:
- Actionable research on opportunities and threats to South Carolina’s competitiveness;
- Support of industry clusters that provide South Carolina a competitive advantage; and
- Education and workforce development initiatives that ensure all South Carolina’s citizens are equipped to compete in a global economy.
We execute our work through partnerships, recognizing that our state’s economic success is secured through sustained collaboration among the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors.
H I S T O R Y
For nearly 50 years, from the 1950s to the early 2000s, South Carolina’s policymakers used an economic development strategy that centered on attracting manufacturers to our state with its flexible workforce, business-friendly environment, and responsive government. Low-wage, low-tax incentives enhanced South Carolina’s agricultural and textile manufacturing base.
This strategy worked for about 30 years. From the 1950s to the early 1980s, per capita income in South Carolina rose nearly 400 times in real terms and increased to nearly 80 percent of the national average. But for the following 20 years, per capita income stagnated at this 80 percent level. South Carolina began to see a rise in competition from countries offering even lower wages and lower taxes.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, South Carolina’s business leaders began to look for new approaches to the state’s economy. The recruitment of BMW to upstate South Carolina in 1992, the loss of the textile industry to overseas locations, and the recognition of the importance of the South Carolina Ports Authority to the state’s economic health triggered a new discussion of how South Carolina competes in the global economy.
South Carolina’s business leaders began to meet and discuss how to position the state as a global competitor. In 2004, the group commissioned a detailed analysis of South Carolina’s economy and formed a non-profit organization called the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. The formation of the Council marked the first time South Carolina’s business, government, and academic leadership came together to address long-term competitiveness factors. The Council was branded under the name New Carolina until 2014.