Last week the South Carolina Department of Commerce released a study titled “The Economic Impact of the Military Community in South Carolina”. According to the study, the South Carolina military community generated $15.7 billion in economic activity in South Carolina, with the three installations in Beaufort County accounting for a combined $1.46 billion of that activity.
“We have long known the military is one of the key economic drivers in Beaufort County,” stated Blakely Williams, President and CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. “This study provides current, verifiable data driving the importance of the military to our local businesses and residents.”
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort has the greatest impact of Beaufort County’s installations with an economic output of $702 million annually. MCAS Beaufort accounts for 8,544 jobs and $339 million in labor income statewide with 7,570 of those jobs and $300 million in labor income in Beaufort and Jasper Counties. The study shows non-residential construction as the industry most benefitting from MCAS Beaufort.
“The Marine Corps Air Station’s impact will continue to grow with on-going construction in anticipation of the arrival of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter scheduled for 2014,” said John Payne, chair of the Military Enhancement Committee. “The F-35 brings new opportunities to Beaufort County, and can provide a cornerstone for economic development efforts in related industries, such as aviation.”
Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) w Island has a total economic output of $594 million, which includes $81.2 million in economic activity from out-of-state civilian visitors to the depot, primarily visiting for recruit graduations. MCRD Parris Island accounts for 5,307 jobs and $220 million in labor income statewide, 4,019 of those jobs and $164 million in labor income are in Beaufort and Jasper counties. Lodging and food services businesses are the primary benefactors of Parris Island in Beaufort County, primarily due to the 165,000 annual out-of-state civilian visitors.
Naval Hospital Beaufort provides an economic impact of $167 million dollars. The hospital accounts for 1,591 jobs with a labor income of $77 million of which 1,273 jobs and $70 million in labor income are in Beaufort and Jasper counties. Consulting services in fields such as management, science and technology are the primary benefactors of Naval Hospital Beaufort.