“A new report that measures counties’ attractiveness to new talent placed Berkeley County eighth among the nation’s top-ranking counties. The rankings were released this week by Emsi, an economic analysis firm, for its fourth annual Talent Attraction Scorecard.
The scorecard included large, small and micro (populations of 5,000 or less) counties across the U.S. A few main trends emerged:
- Southern counties “rising in the ranks”
- Western cities “punching above their weight”
- Sunbelt states — the southeast to the southwest — “thriving”
Berkeley County has been moving up in the ranks in Emsi’s report, starting at No. 85 in 2017, then No. 41 last year. Of all the counties in this year’s top 10, it made the biggest jumps in the last three years.
The county has been growing rapidly, and has seen success in recent years in attracting major investments from employers. In 2018, Berkeley County scored three of South Carolina’s top economic development announcements.
A $600 million expansion of Google Inc.’s Moncks Corner data center was the year’s biggest announcement by value, per the state’s Commerce Department. A $255 million expansion of J.W. Aluminum’s Goose Creek campus ranked fourth in the state for value, and welding and fabrication firm W International‘s plans to hire 600 new workers ranked third for job creation.
The county’s current unemployment rate is just 1.6 percent, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. That’s compared to 1.8 percent for South Carolina and 3.3 percent nationwide. Over the last year, job openings recorded by the department have hovered around 1,000 each month.
The top-ranking large county in Emsi’s report was Duval, in the heart of the Jacksonville metro area. According to the report, the largest industries there are hospitals and restaurants, but the addition of Amazon and Wayfair distribution centers over the last two years boosted the economy.
Other high-ranking counties were in the Phoenix, Las Vegas and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas.
Here’s how the top-ranking large South Carolina counties (those with populations of 100,000 or more) stacked up:
- No. 8: Berkeley County
- No. 46: York County
- No. 48: Horry County
- No. 72: Greenville County
- No. 82: Charleston County
- No. 93: Spartanburg County
Among small South Carolina counties, Lancaster County ranked the highest (No. 25), followed by Jasper (No. 34) and Chester (No. 136).
Counties were ranked based on six metrics: net migration, overall job growth, skilled job growth, educational attainment, regional competitiveness and annual job openings per capita. ” – Post and Courier