South Carolina Boasts a Large Engineering Workforce

November 20, 2008

State ranks among top five for employment concentration of engineers in multiple sectors 

COLUMBIA, SC – November 20, 2008 – Numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics show that South Carolina ranks among the top five states for employment in several important engineering occupations.  In three categories, South Carolina has the second-highest employment concentration of engineers in the nation.  Those include: chemical engineers, health and safety engineers and industrial engineers.  South Carolina ranks fourth in the nation for employment concentration of nuclear engineers. 

“South Carolina has a long history of being home to companies that depend on engineers, from Eastman to GE to Duke Energy.  These rankings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reaffirm that our state has high concentration of skilled workers and our strength in engineering will continue to be an asset as we work to encourage growth among existing businesses and recruit new investments,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce. 

Also in the nuclear energy field, South Carolina ranks first in the nation in employment concentration for nuclear power operators and nuclear technicians. This trend continues to be strong for the state with announcements like URS Corp. Washington Division in March.  The company is opening its nuclear energy headquarters in Lancaster County and plans to create 400 new engineering jobs over the next few years. 

In the past two years, companies such as Cytec Industries, DuPont, Rollcast Energy, Eastman Chemical, Sandvik and BMW have all announced new facilities or expansions of existing operations in the Palmetto State.  Other companies, such as Milliken and General Electric Co., continue to add engineering jobs to their operations within the state.  South Carolina’s large and growing engineering workforce will continue to help attract new investments from companies like these.   South Carolina is also home to large engineering companies such as Flour, CH2M Hill (Lockwood Greene), Jacobs Engineering and many others. 

Some other engineering areas in which South Carolina compares favorably to the rest of the nation include:

Ø  The state ranks second in the nation in concentration of team assemblers.

Ø  The state ranks third in the nation for inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and weighers.

Ø  The state ranks fourth in the nation for industrial engineering technicians. 

With research centers like the Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Center and the International Center for Automotive Research, the University of South Carolina’s Electrochemical Engineering Center and the Savannah River National Laboratory, firms have access to leading research in a several engineering fields.  The state’s two public research universities also provide superior training for the engineers of tomorrow. 

As sectors like automotive, aerospace, advanced materials and nuclear power continue to grow in South Carolina, the state will continue to see an increase in the number of engineering positions available with companies in these industries. South Carolina is well-positioned to take advantage of its skilled workforce and continue its record of being a national leader in attracting engineering professionals.