Economic impact study of South Carolina’s life sciences industry released

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s life sciences industry has an annual economic impact of approximately $11.4 billion, according to a study commissioned by the S.C. Research Authority (SCRA) and S.C. Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO) in partnership with the S.C. Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce). Prepared by the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, the study finds that this growing sector has experienced an average annual employment growth rate of approximately 1.7 percent in the Palmetto State since 2005.

With a footprint of more than 15,000 employees and 400 firms in South Carolina, life sciences has developed into a critical component of the state’s economy and, as such, presents significant opportunities for economic growth. According to the study, the life sciences industry is associated with an employment multiplier of 2.9; meaning that, for every 10 jobs created within the industry, an additional 19 jobs are created elsewhere in the state.

Typically, these jobs are high-paying. The average direct job in South Carolina’s life sciences industry pays an annual total compensation of $78,658, which is approximately 95 percent higher than the state’s average annual compensation across all jobs.

“The life sciences industry has become a major driver of South Carolina’s economy,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, we know that this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to be partnering with SCBIO to help life sciences continue to advance in South Carolina.”

In July 2016, S.C. Commerce formed a partnership with SCBIO to determine the footprint of this sector in South Carolina. The first step in the partnership was to complete an economic impact study. Now that the study has been concluded and the scope of the state’s life sciences industry has been identified, the two organizations have forged a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines shared goals and objectives designed to further catalyze and grow the life sciences industry in South Carolina.

A similar framework has been successfully implemented by S.C. Commerce with other industry sectors in recent years, including with the aerospace and logistics sectors. This MOU includes the creation of an unprecedented strategic plan for accelerating the development of the state’s burgeoning life sciences industry sector, and it’s expected to produce measurable results in the years ahead.   

“The data generated by this economic study confirms the positive and significant impact that the life sciences industry is already having on the economy of South Carolina,” said SCBIO President and Chief Executive Officer Sam Konduros. “This data creates a solid foundation for future efforts and builds a clear and compelling case for why S.C. Commerce and SCBIO are deepening our partnership, implementing new joint strategies and synchronizing our collective efforts to further diversify and expand the economy of South Carolina through the power of the life sciences industry.”

For more on the study, view this fact sheet or access the full report by clicking here