As real estate agents who specialize in helping home buyers relocate to Charleston, we get lots of questions regarding Charleston’s job market and overall economy. Over the past two years, Charleston has invested more than $ 1 billion to generate more businesses and also expand existing ones. We’ve included info below on the biggest industries and employers in Charleston.
An estimated 5.1 million visitors come to Charleston each year, making tourism the largest industry by far. These tourists bring the city approximately $ 5.4 billion annually and provide jobs for about 78,000 people. Most of these jobs are located in downtown Charleston and the 6 area’s beaches (Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Wild Dunes, Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island).
The Port of Charleston is the second biggest industry, with an estimated $ 3.3 billion contributed to the local economy each year. Charleston is the fourth largest container port in the U.S. and interchanges with more than 150 countries worldwide. Five separate terminals are located along the Charleston Harbor and the Cooper River, so most of these jobs can be found in downtown Charleston and North Charleston.
The military accounts for more than 27,000 jobs in Charleston, with an overwhelming majority from the U.S. Navy. However, the Charleston Air Force Base provides about 5,500 of these jobs. Overall, the military brings the local economy approximately $ 3.28 billion each year.
In addition to these 3 industries, Charleston’s job market is also supported by large manufacturing corporations like Bosch (which provides about 2,100 jobs), Westvaco (2,200), and Nucor Steel (800). The most recent addition is Boeing, which has built a new assembly plant for its 787 jets in North Charleston.
With the Medical University of South Carolina located in downtown Charleston, you’ll find lots of job openings in the healthcare industry. MUSC accounts for about 8,200 in the area. Charleston is one of the main healthcare hubs of South Carolina, with a wide range of specialists and many hospitals spread throughout the metro area. The Roper St. Francis Hospital System provides about 4,000 jobs.
In tri-county Charleston, schools also make up some of the biggest employers. The Charleston Country School District employs just over 5,100 workers. Berkeley County schools employ about 3,400 people, and Dorchester schools estimate about 3,000 workers.
Charleston also has several options for higher education, although these don’t provide as many jobs as the public K-12 schools. The College of Charleston has just under 1,000 employees. The Citadel and Trident Technical College each employ about 600 faculty and staff.