Moore School study reveals BMW Manufacturing has pumped more than $8.8 billion into South Carolina’s economy

September 11, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 11, 2008 – BMW Manufacturing Co. has pumped more than $8.8 billion into South Carolina’s economy, leading to the creation statewide of 4.3 jobs for every job created at the Upstate factory, according to a study released Thursday (Sept. 11) by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

The findings of the study reveal that, after 16 years, BMW has become more than a manufacturing branch plant of the famous German automaker. Combining manufacturing, community and educational activities, it occupies a distinctive position in the South Carolina economy, the report says.

The study stresses that as BMW invests and creates jobs for South Carolinians, it also demonstrates how successful businesses can address environmental challenges and serve as models for sustainable enterprise.

The economic impact study was conducted earlier this year using BMW’s activity in 2007.

“The immense impact of BMW is felt across the Upstate and throughout South Carolina,” said Dr. Douglas P. Woodward, professor of economics at the Moore School. Woodward and Dr. Paulo Guimaraes, also a Moore School economics professor, conducted the study.

The study focused on three key economic dimensions of BMW’s investment.

1. The total economic impact of investment, measuring the extent to which BMW provides employment and income for South Carolina residents, directly and indirectly;

2. BMW’s influence on the upgrading and enhancement of the technological and manufacturing competiveness of South Carolina;

3. The lead role that BMW has taken as a sustainable enterprise, with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship and community involvement.

Woodward said the study shows that BMW has an “outsized impact on the state’s economy” due to its presence as a “high-wage, final producer with extensive ties to local suppliers.”

The activities generated by BMW also serve as a stellar example of sustainable business practices in South Carolina.

“Given our school’s new theme of ‘sustainable enterprise and development,’ I am often asked what we at the Moore School mean by ‘sustainable,’ said Dr. Hildy Teegen, dean of Moore School. “BMW is a great example of a firm dedicated to sustainability. Like all companies, it depends on generating profit for its economic survival.

“But through its cutting-edge business practices and understanding of how to advance economic development in the markets where it participates, BMW has demonstrated that it is a responsible steward of the environment and benefits society at large.”


BMW’s Economic Impact in South Carolina – Moore School Study Key Findings

■          The total economic output associated with BMW’s annual economic activities is more than $8.8 billion in South Carolina. This broad measure of economic impact includes sales of goods and services to BMW and its employees from in-state vendors.

■          The employment “multiplier effect” – the ratio of total employment supported throughout the state to direct employment at the factory – is 4.3. A typical employment multiplier for South Carolina’s industries or services “is closer to 2.”

■          The BMW plant in Spartanburg County generates $1.2 billion in wages and salaries annually and supports 23,050 jobs in South Carolina.

■          BMW’s net economic contribution (also called “value added”) to the state’s economy in 2007 was $1.9 billion. Value added is a measure similar to gross state product.

■          In 2007,  BMW produced 157,530 units, of which approximately 60 percent were exported. By mid-2008, 65 percent of the plant’s output was exported. The majority of the exports use the Port of Charleston. The employment and income impact of the port is not included in the study’s assessment.

■          BMW also has a long-term commitment to enhancing South Carolina’s efforts to promote a knowledge-based economy, based on applied research and innovation. BMW is heavily involved in advancing automotive research through its investment in the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). The company has invested $10 million to support two endowed chairs at Clemson. Overall, BMW has caused $50 million to be invested at CU-ICAR. In addition, BMW has an information technology research center (ITRC) on the CU-ICAR campus.

■          The BMW plant, which has created 5,400 full-time jobs at the Upstate facility, announced in March 2008 that it will spend $750 million on construction to upgrade the factory and enhance its facilities between 2007 and 2010. Directly and indirectly, the study said this construction activity will support approximately 5,000 jobs, contribute $256 million to value added and add $200 million to the state’s labor income in 2008. The upgrade will help the Greer complex advance its effort to be a leading sustainable enterprise.

■          The share of total South Carolina employment at the plant accounts for 2.2 percent of state manufacturing employment.

Moore School studies on BMW’s economic impact in South Carolina – 2002 and 2008 – are available online at the Division of Research Web site: