Awareness Means Getting the People Here

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A recent study by United VanLines shows that South Carolina is the nation’s second largest state for the percentage of inbound moves.

Out of 4,088 household moves to or from South Carolina that United handled last year, 2,512, or 61.4 percent, were inbound.

The Oconee Economic Alliance is very interested in these statistics for very selfish reasons. A major part of our mission is to tell the story of why businesses and people should create jobs here. We want this growth to occur in Oconee County as it means strengthening the business mix, generating new opportunities and diversification of our tax base.

Now that we know people are coming here faster than anywhere but Oregon, we want them to look at Oconee. We believe we have a good story to tell to draw business. We can share data and we can share quality of life.

For example, Oconee County has the third lowest property tax in South Carolina.  Manufacturing is Oconee’s largest employment sector with more than 5,300 workers. Among the country’s micropolitan areas, Oconee County ranks 38th for share of jobs in foreign operated enterprise (FOE) at 11.7 percent.

One of the biggest up-front costs for expansion or relocation decisions is related to occupancy and construction. That is why Oconee County has been investing in projects such as Oconee Industry & Technology Park, the Golden Corner Commerce Park and the Seneca Rail Site. These make Oconee more desirable as they are county-owned with the necessary infrastructure in place to aid in the build-out of potential projects.

Available labor, especially skilled labor, is considered to be a key driver in site selection decisions. Workers are often the lifeblood for a company’s operation. Part of Oconee County’s five-year-economic development strategy focuses on “connecting the dots” between the school district, Tri-County Technical College, Clemson University and other workforce training partners to ensure that going forward our workers are well-trained and ready.

Businesses are taking notice of Oconee County and its superb quality of life as evidenced by over $40 million in new capital investment and over 300 new jobs announced in 2014. People are continuing to move here as seen in the latest United State Census Bureau report indicating population increases in our county.

All of this positive traction is shaping our community, but it does not mean our job is done. As we continue to grow, we must remain committed to investing in ourselves and thinking long-term with our planning so our area remains the “geography of opportunity.”


Richard K. Blackwell is the executive director of Oconee Economic Alliance, which is a public-private nonprofit effort to accelerate job creation and capital investment, increase per capita income, diversify the local tax base and generate awareness of Oconee County as a business location. To learn more visit

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