South Carolina: Facts and Figures

South Carolina’s exports reach across the globe, totalling more than $30 billion worth of goods in 2020. Top export markets include China, Germany, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates, with South Carolina’s manufacturing prowess in vehicles and machinery driving these exports. Its coastal location and ports help to fuel export growth and international business opportunities. More than 560,000 jobs in South Carolina are also supported by international trade, with new jobs created every day.

Job Creation

  • In South Carolina, 568,900 jobs were supported by international trade in 2018, representing 20.00% of all jobs in the state.1,2
  • In 2019, 6,526 companies exported goods from South Carolina of which 84% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2018, 158,500 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.3,4

Exports and Growth

  • South Carolina exported $30.3 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2020, a 27% decline compared to 2019 driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.5
    • Germany ($4.1 billion)
    • Canada ($4.0 billion)
    • China ($3.9 billion)
    • Mexico ($1.8 billion)
    • Belgium ($1.4 billion)
  • Agricultural exports are important to South Carolina's' economy, totaling $800 million in 2019, according to the USDA.6
  • Since 2014, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $4 billion in exports from 62 companies in South Carolina.7
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation - which has been modernized into the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) - has invested $31 million in South Carolina companies for overseas investment.8
  • Since 1992, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has helped facilitate $48 million in exports from South Carolina companies, supporting an estimated 250 jobs in the state.9

Education and Research

  • In 2018-2019, 6,258 South Carolina students studied abroad.10
  • During 2020, 6,493 international students were enrolled in South Carolina colleges and universities and contributed $199 million to the South Carolina economy.10

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 1,739 Peace Corps volunteers from South Carolina have served in dozens of countries overseas.11