South Carolina Q4, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 140,795 employers, up 3.9% from 135,446
  • 2,142,650 employees, up 1.3% from 2,114,663
  • $931 average weekly wage, up 4.0% from $895
  • The average weekly wage is 21.4% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 4.1% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 5,349, which is an increase of 3.9%. The number of employees in South Carolina increased by 27,987, an increase of 1.3%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $36, an increase of 4.0%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 5,264 or 4.0%. Growth in private businesses in South Carolina grew faster than the national average of 2.5%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 19,560 or 1.1%. The growth in employees of private businesses in South Carolina was slower than the national average of 1.2%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $35 or 4.0%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in South Carolina grew faster than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Professional services with 13.9% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 5.5%. Retail trade (12.8%), which increased by 0.9% and Construction (9.1%), which increased by 3.3%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Utilities5315.6%
Company management10811.1%
Information2649.9%
Educational services1338.4%
Real estate and rental3505.8%
Professional services1,0155.5%
Other services6105.3%
Finance and insurance3885.1%
Transport and warehousing1574.5%
Waste services3774.5%
Healthcare4514.2%
Manufacturing2524.1%
Arts and entertainment803.9%
Construction4113.3%
Accommodation and food services2892.6%
Agriculture and forestry272.3%
Wholesale trade1381.6%
Retail trade1590.9%
Mining and oil extraction10.7%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 12.0% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 1.7% in the last year. Retail trade (11.9%), decreased by 0.2% and Accommodation and food services (10.9%), increased by 2.2%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Company management3,42915.8%
Mining and oil extraction17710.0%
Transport and warehousing3,1034.5%
Arts and entertainment1,2664.2%
Other services1,4942.8%
Educational services6882.6%
Construction2,3282.2%
Accommodation and food services5,0232.2%
Real estate and rental6412.1%
Manufacturing4,2391.7%
Finance and insurance9761.4%
Wholesale trade7141.0%
Healthcare1,4080.7%
Retail trade-518-0.2%
Professional services-566-0.6%
Waste services-2,376-1.4%
Agriculture and forestry-173-1.6%
Utilities-452-3.8%
Information-1,843-6.6%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,757per week compared with the state average of $920. Weekly wages in this sector declined by $4 or 0.2%. Company management ($1,684), rose by $96 or 6.0% and Professional services ($1,576) increased by $85 or 5.7% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Information$937.6%
Mining and oil extraction$806.2%
Finance and insurance$796.1%
Company management$966.0%
Arts and entertainment$245.7%
Professional services$855.7%
Agriculture and forestry$435.7%
Real estate and rental$535.6%
Construction$534.8%
Accommodation and food services$164.6%
Other services$284.2%
Healthcare$383.9%
Transport and warehousing$323.7%
Wholesale trade$513.7%
Retail trade$203.7%
Waste services$192.8%
Manufacturing$211.8%
Educational services$-1-0.1%
Utilities$-4-0.2%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In South Carolina. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 6.4% of the businesses in the state (with 9,041 employing 184,783 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 219 more businesses, an increase of 2.5% in the last year. Private households (3.0% of businesses) added 305 businesses, an increase of 7.7% and Computer systems design and related services (2.9% of businesses) added 388 businesses, an increase of 10.6% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Pension funds11157.1%
Trusts estates and agency accounts42144.8%
Motor vehicle metal stamping466.7%
Cable and other subscription programming666.7%
Open-end investment funds763.6%
News syndicates450.0%
Business and secretarial schools150.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Computer systems design and related services38810.6%
Private households3057.7%
Management consulting services2206.9%
Restaurants and other eating places2192.5%
Other activities related to real estate11620.8%
Commercial banking11411.5%
Management of companies and enterprises10811.1%


Employees by Industry

Private households (3.0% of employees) added 305 employees, an increase of 7.7% and Computer systems design and related services (2.9% ofemployees) added 388 employees, an increase of 10.6% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Political organizations249488.6%
Pension funds28236.1%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers780167.5%
Audio and video equipment manufacturing121103.8%
Nonchocolate confectionery manufacturing6291.6%
Trusts estates and agency accounts2177.4%
Motion picture and video distribution559.3%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Management of companies and enterprises3,42915.8%
Restaurants and other eating places3,1801.7%
Commercial banking2,11414.1%
Computer systems design and related services1,4608.8%
Automobile and light truck manufacturing1,35112.0%
Industrial building construction1,29823.8%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels1,0893.7%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Petroleum refineries, paying $3,845 compared with the state average of $920. Employees in the Petroleum refineries industry were paid $1,567 more per week, an increase of 68.8% in the last year. Commodity contracts brokerage ($3,764) and Investment banking and securities dealing ($3,741) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Commodity contracts brokerage ($3,764 per week) were paid $172 more per week, an increase of 4.8% and Investment banking and securities dealing ($3,741 per week) were paid $471 more per week, an increase of 14.4% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Other financial vehicles$2,189145.5%
Sound recording studios$772102.3%
Petroleum refineries$1,56768.8%
Trusts estates and agency accounts$1,06267.0%
Industrial design services$64455.0%
Independent artists writers and performers$1,14247.0%
Other telecommunications$79146.7%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Other financial vehicles$2,189145.5%
Petroleum refineries$1,56768.8%
Independent artists writers and performers$1,14247.0%
Trusts estates and agency accounts$1,06267.0%
Other telecommunications$79146.7%
Sound recording studios$772102.3%
Commodity contracts dealing$67329.0%


Company Size

South Carolina Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in South Carolina by far. 60.6% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 127,831 small businesses in the state represent 95.3% of all private businesses. The national average is 91.2%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) South Carolina added 4,671 businesses in the last year, an increase of 3.6% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 4,493 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 3.6% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 168 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.8% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 10 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 4.1% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



South Carolina Employees by Business Size

South Carolina added 122,883 employees in the last year, an increase of 7.6% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 61,818 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 93.6% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 38,374 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 5.8% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 22,691 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 9.4% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

South Carolina Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

The smallest companies in South Carolina (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 6.8% more than the national average ($1,078 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in South Carolina (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 41.8% workers below the national average ($1,349 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $106 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 3.2% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $111 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 4.4% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $52 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 2.2% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Restaurants and other eating places9,0412.5%
Private households4,2487.7%
Computer systems design and related services4,03210.6%
Management consulting services3,4196.9%
Wholesale trade agents and brokers2,831-0.9%
Offices of lawyers2,6640.9%
Residential building construction2,6323.5%
Offices of physicians2,4624.1%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers2,3143.9%
Insurance agencies and brokerages2,2973.9%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places184,7831.7%
Temporary help services73,216-3.0%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters41,872-2.0%
Offices of physicians41,6122.1%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores41,1640.5%
General medical and surgical hospitals31,064-10.8%
Hotels and motels except casino hotels30,2213.7%
Management of companies and enterprises25,09715.8%
General warehousing and storage21,3984.4%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing19,3573.6%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Petroleum refineries$3,84568.8%
Commodity contracts brokerage$3,7644.8%
Investment banking and securities dealing$3,74114.4%
Other financial vehicles$3,693145.5%
Independent artists writers and performers$3,57447.0%
Commodity contracts dealing$2,99729.0%
Portfolio management$2,88910.1%
Securities brokerage$2,885-5.3%
Computer and software merchant wholesalers$2,7338.8%
Trusts estates and agency accounts$2,64667.0%




Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.