The_sandlapper

Columbia Economic Notes

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The University of South Carolina's technology incubator has graduated two more companies tuesday, adding to the knowledge based economy the state and the area wants to build. The information technology, Advanced Automation Consulting, servicing company now employs 40 workers earning $90,000 a year on average. Digital Systems Support Inc. is an information technology solutions company, It is leaving the nest with 18 full-time and 10 part-time employees, who earn $40,000 a year on average. USC tech incubator

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Some interesting facts about the Region. Here is a list of the leading employers.

Top Employers

Palmetto Health Alliance: 7,700 employees

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of S.C.: 7,200

Wal-Mart: 4,500

University of South Carolina: 4,500

Lexington Medical Center: 3,700

Department of Mental Health: 3,179

SCANA & SCE&G: 3,098

Department of Corrections: 2,819

Gold Kist Inc. (Poultry, Sumter): 2,338

Department of Health and

Environmental Control: 2,228

Humana/TriCare (Insurance): 2,100

Electrolux (Riding lawn tractors, Orangeburg): 1,999

Department of Transportation: 1,962

Providence Hospital: 1,650

Michelin Tire Corp.: 1,525

Bose Corp. 1,149

Westinghouse Electric 1,028

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance 1,000

Edited by The_sandlapper

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Some interesting facts about the Region. Here is a list of the leading employers.

Top Employers

Palmetto Health Alliance: 7,700 employees

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of S.C.: 7,200

Wal-Mart: 4,500

University of South Carolina: 4,500

Lexington Medical Center: 3,700

Department of Mental Health: 3,179

SCANA & SCE&G: 3,098

Department of Corrections: 2,819

Gold Kist Inc. (Poultry, Sumter): 2,338

Department of Health and

Environmental Control: 2,228

Humana/TriCare (Insurance): 2,100

Electrolux (Riding lawn tractors, Orangeburg): 1,999

Department of Transportation: 1,962

Providence Hospital: 1,650

Michelin Tire Corp.: 1,525

Bose Corp. 1,149

Westinghouse Electric 1,028

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance 1,000

That is a good list to have. No question that Columbia is a government town though...

Edited by Spartan

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Yeah, I was also impressed by the number of insurance employers.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of S.C.

Humana/TriCare (Insurance)

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance

I guess that's why there hasn't been a push to really diversify the areas economy since state govt. isn't going anywhere.

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Although state government is a sure bet in terms of stability (I don't foresee Charleston regaining capital city status-ever), it doesn't represent a booming, fast-growing, high-paying sector of the economy. I guess this why Innovista has such momentum behind it, as it will seek for more diversification with those high-paying, fast-growing jobs.

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I'm a low-tech person, so I don't know how to place a link on here, but a post that showed up today in the most recent postings section of this website has an attachment that links you to the MSA's and their economic strength rankings. The Columbia MSA ranks #54, Charleston's #90 and Greenville's #104.

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Interesting that you should mention that Columbia is stronger than what most people give it credit for, because that's largely true, especially in the Carolinas. On one of the Charlotte threads, it was mentioned that the SouthPark area in Charlotte had the largest amount of office space in the Carolinas outside of the Charlotte CBD. Then when stats were given to lend credence to this claim, only stats for Charlotte and Raleigh were given. I guess some thought that simply because Raleigh is a larger city, surely it has more office space in its CBD than Columbia. However, Columbia's CBD has almost 1M sq ft more inventory office space than Raleigh's CBD, making it the Carolinas' second-largest when it comes to inventory office space. And I don't think this includes First Citizens, buildings that are part of Innovista, or the office building at the former Kline Iron & Steel Site. Some of those Charlotteans better wake up and realize that there's WAY more to the Carolinas than Charlotte and Raleigh; NC is the "new kid on the block" anyway. :P

Edited by krazeeboi

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That's one thing that I like about Columbia is it's resilient (that's not how to spell it but oh well). It is in a region to itself so it has always thought of itself as the bigdog! So that is the mentality of most Columbians. "We take second seat to no one", well except maybe Atlanta ;) . But the area has relied on itself to grow and porosper much like Austin (the overgrown throwaway mid-sized college town in central texas, that was roughly the same size 20 years ago that Columbia is today, that took semi-conducter research to the next level when the time was right much like C-lum is plannig to do with feul cells today). We don't have the luxury of being located between two major fast growing meto areas, and we are not a tourist region. No matter what the odds are Columbia seems to find a way! I'm sure many people out there want to compare us with cities like Columbus, GA, Jackson, MS, and Montgomery, AL. When we are more compareable with cities like Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Knoxville, & Little Rock, mid-sized towns that are literally one step away from the Nashville's, Charlotte's, and Louisville's a decade or two from now!

But these are usually my rants when I post.

Also Columbia has the 3rd largest "census certified" MSA in the Carolinas, as well as the 4th largest urbanized area, but somehow these facts always get overlooked for the more popular crowd assumptions.

Edited by The_sandlapper

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I'm a low-tech person, so I don't know how to place a link on here, but a post that showed up today in the most recent postings section of this website has an attachment that links you to the MSA's and their economic strength rankings. The Columbia MSA ranks #54, Charleston's #90 and Greenville's #104.

Just copy and paste a link like you would any other. It only gets technical if you want to use code to put the link into words.

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Economic strength rankings (PDF file)

I find it interesting that in Forbes latest "Best Places for Businesses and Careers" list, Boise ID ranks first, whereas in the economic strength rankings, it ranks one place behind Columbia at 55. Hmmmm....

Edited by krazeeboi

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Interesting that you should mention that Columbia is stronger than what most people give it credit for, because that's largely true, especially in the Carolinas. On one of the Charlotte threads, it was mentioned that the SouthPark area in Charlotte had the largest amount of office space in the Carolinas outside of the Charlotte CBD. Then when stats were given to lend credence to this claim, only stats for Charlotte and Raleigh were given. I guess some thought that simply because Raleigh is a larger city, surely it has more office space in its CBD than Columbia. However, Columbia's CBD has almost 1M sq ft more inventory office space than Raleigh's CBD, making it the Carolinas' second-largest when it comes to inventory office space. And I don't think this includes First Citizens, buildings that are part of Innovista, or the office building at the former Kline Iron & Steel Site. Some of those Charlotteans better wake up and realize that there's WAY more to the Carolinas than Charlotte and Raleigh; NC is the "new kid on the block" anyway. :P

I have lived in Columbia since 1984 and since then I have been continuously baffled at how there seems to be a mind set that Columbia is like a third runner-up city compared to the other SC cities. But then when I think about it, when people from other SC cities criticize Columbia, it seems all they ever say is it's hot here. So let's just go ahead and concede that for a total of 6 weeks out of the year, if that, it is stifling hot here (ignoring the fact that the heat index [how hot it feels] in Charleston is consistently higher than in Columbia during the summer according to the weather report night after night), and... and there's really nothing else to say.

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I have lived in Columbia since 1984 and since then I have been continuously baffled at how there seems to be a mind set that Columbia is like a third runner-up city compared to the other SC cities. But then when I think about it, when people from other SC cities criticize Columbia, it seems all they ever say is it's hot here. So let's just go ahead and concede that for a total of 6 weeks out of the year, if that, it is stifling hot here (ignoring the fact that the heat index [how hot it feels] in Charleston is consistently higher than in Columbia during the summer according to the weather report night after night), and... and there's really nothing else to say.

Your right, I can agree columbia does get over looked in so many areas. But some way columbia always pop right back up. As far as other sc cities criticizing columbia thats natural to feel inferior to the biggest city in the state. Charleston might be more urban, greenville might be cleanier!! But the bottom line columbia is the biggest, and is the only city in sc that you get a big city vibe. By the time Charlotte really realizes whats 80miles south, it will be too late. Columbia can easy compete with Raleigh & Charlotte . Charlotte has a hard time keeping people there. Alot of people move to Charlotte, but will later move to atl because Charlotte wasn't big enough for them. I can easily see the most slept on city in the carolinas becoming the greatest city in the carolinas

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I tend to look on other cities in the region like this, Charlotte is like that over achieveing big brother that studied really hard in school, and its what you can achieve if you apply yourself as well. Raleigh is like that too but its that's brother's best friend. Charleston is like a close friend that you grew up with and can identify with but they went to a more popular school. Greenville is like that promising little brother that's always on your heels, and Atlanta is that one rich uncle or aunt that you have, and no matter what you do right now you will never quite catch up with them, but hey there southern so it's still okay. That's been my take on the region. Oh and Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are those younger cousins that you know once the grow up they will totally kick your ass and go beyond you.

Edited by The_sandlapper

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I tend to look on other cities in the region like this, Charlotte is like that over achieveing big brother that studied really hard in school, and its what you can achieve if you apply yourself as well. Raleigh is like that too but its that's brother's best friend. Charleston is like a close friend that you grew up with and can identify with but they went to a more popular school. Greenville is like that promising little brother that's always on your heels, and Atlanta is that one rich uncle or aunt that you have, and no matter what you do right now you will never quite catch up with them, but hey there southern so it's still okay. That's been my take on the region. Oh and Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are those younger cousins that you know once the grow up they will totally kick your ass and go beyond you.

I have always considered cities to have "personalities" as well. Your analogies hit the bullseye IMO. Myrtle Beach though, might be the cousin with money, but tacky clothing and tastes. He also brown noses his boss, a Mr. Burroughs Chapin.

Your Charlotte and Raleigh analogy is especially dead-on. The only thing is, the "Charlotte" big brother majored in Accounting, so he isn't exactly the life of the party, if you know what I mean. [no offense to any accounting majors out there ;)

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Your right, I can agree columbia does get over looked in so many areas. But some way columbia always pop right back up. As far as other sc cities criticizing columbia thats natural to feel inferior to the biggest city in the state. Charleston might be more urban, greenville might be cleanier!! But the bottom line columbia is the biggest, and is the only city in sc that you get a big city vibe. By the time Charlotte really realizes whats 80miles south, it will be too late. Columbia can easy compete with Raleigh & Charlotte . Charlotte has a hard time keeping people there. Alot of people move to Charlotte, but will later move to atl because Charlotte wasn't big enough for them. I can easily see the most slept on city in the carolinas becoming the greatest city in the carolinas

I love all of our Carolina cities and believe they are all well respected. What gets me is how some who would run on with Columbia being the biggest this and that. The city isn't the largest by much. A couple of thousand population-wise. I lived in Columbia for quite a while. It is a wonderful community but I wouldn't try to promote it as the biggest city like Charleston and Greenville are the size of let's say Newberry or even Kingstree. And all three have that "big city" vibe.

Edited by randy1

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I have always considered cities to have "personalities" as well. Your analogies hit the bullseye IMO. Myrtle Beach though, might be the cousin with money, but tacky clothing and tastes. He also brown noses his boss, a Mr. Burroughs Chapin.

Your Charlotte and Raleigh analogy is especially dead-on. The only thing is, the "Charlotte" big brother majored in Accounting, so he isn't exactly the life of the party, if you know what I mean. [no offense to any accounting majors out there ;)

:lol:

I love all of our Carolina cities and believe they are all well respected. What gets me is how some who would run on with Columbia being the biggest this and that. The city isn't the largest by much. A couple of thousand population-wise. I lived in Columbia for quite a while. It is a wonderful community but I wouldn't try to promote it as the biggest city like Charleston and Greenville are the size of let's say Newberry or even Kingstree. And all three have that "big city" vibe.

I agree but its not just Columbia, some people push Greenville, and Charleston as well to that extent. I have preferences for cities throughout the region no doubt but aside from Atlanta, and Charlotte most areas a more or less parallel to each other in population, economies, growth, & amenities. Most of the arguing is usually done to prove points about different color hairs to split.

Edited by The_sandlapper

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Columbia does have the biggest 'feel' to it, but that is not to say that Charleston and Greenville do not. Charleston has the 'hustle and bustle' of a much larger city, particularly on the penninsula. But its mostly confined to that area.

Most of the 'feel' comes from its physical appearance, particularly of its downtown/center city area.

Columbia has highrises, density, and a very strong grid system downtown that create a very strong visual appeal. For many people it is intimidating to drive in Columbia because it is so different from the rest of the state in that regard.

Charleston has the density of cities many times its size. No skyline to speak of, its irregular grid makes it intimidating to visitors because you never know for sure which road will not dead end into another road. Like I said before, Charleston has that hustle and bustle that you can't really describe. Its just there, and to walk around the city you know it.

Greenville has the skyline, though its not visible from many places, but it lacks the density of the other two. Its downtown area is not as large in area either. That said, Greenville probably has the brightest future.

A large part of this is because of walkablility.

Charleston is by far the most walkable city, which adds to the vibe and energy you feel while you are there. Columbia severely lacks walkibility, and is slightly intimidating to pedestrians. Greenville lies somewhere in between. It is much more walkable than Columbia, but not as much as Charleston.

This is all subjective of course.

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Great points Spartan. Also I will say that Columbia feels a little more urban because it has three interstates, the good grid system (as Spartan has pointed out), and two bustling downtown districts besides Main Street. To me Greenville feels the smallest because of only one interstate (not counting spurs) and less density. But in actuality, the Big Three aren't that much different in terms of urbanity; they just all have different kinds of urbanity.

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