This is how much the SC economy relies on the military


A US Air Force Airman assigned to the 20th Maintenance Group salutes an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during the operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 15-06 at Shaw Air Force Base May 27, 2015.

A US Air Force Airman assigned to the 20th Maintenance Group salutes an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during the operational readiness exercise Weasel Victory 15-06 at Shaw Air Force Base May 27, 2015.

US Air Force

The US military generates a whopping $34.3 billion in annual economic activity and 254,095 jobs in South Carolina, a new study shows.

The military alone accounts for 11.2% of the Palmetto State’s entire economy, according to the University of South Carolina study, commissioned by the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

“The economic impact of the military community on the state of South Carolina is substantial,” the study states. “The detailed estimates in this report should serve as reminder of the importance of the military community’s presence and the fact that any significant change in the level of activity at a military installation will have the potential to transform the local and statewide economy.”

Among the regions in the state, the Midlands ranked second for having the most military economic activity at $6.6 billion — twice as much as the third-ranked region, the Upstate, with $3 billion. Charleston easily secured the top ranking with $12.7 billion in military economic activity.

The study’s estimates includes all base operations, in-state procurement and visitor spending at all state installations and military activities. Also included is the economic impact that Fort Gordon in Georgia has on the state of South Carolina, which continues to grow.

Meanwhile, there are Department of Defense contracts totaling $3.2 billion currently being executed across 671 firms within South Carolina and the five-county region of Georgia surrounding Fort Gordon.

The study shows that South Carolina is home to eight major military installations and many other facilities throughout the state supporting 68,493 Department of Defense personnel, of all branches of Service and components. Of those, 69% of service members are active duty and 31% are Reserve Component (Guardsmen and Reservists).

As such, this is the 10th highest density of service members in the US

There are also 63,882 military retirees among the state’s 397,649 veterans, making South Carolina the state with the eighth highest number of military retirees, the study states. In addition, the US Department of Veterans Affairs provides South Carolina’s veterans with $4.9 billion in VA-funded compensation and pension, among other benefits.

South Carolina’s military community provides a variety of resources that the nation regularly draws from for training, combat, and support services. These include:

  • Force generation for the long-term sustainability of the US Armed Forces
  • Active defense of Continental United States (CONUS) with ground, air, sea,
  • and cyber forces.
  • Direct support of combat operations with ground, air, sea and cyber
  • forces
  • Strategic transportation
  • DoD contractors producing weapon systems for the nation and
  • supporting ongoing military activities.
  • Domestic and state emergency support operations

Patrick McCreless is the service journalism editor for The State, where he and a team of reporters write about trending news of the day and topics that help readers in their daily lives and better inform them about their communities. He attended Jacksonville State University in Alabama and grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL.

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