2020-21 Midlands Regional Competiveness Report

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TM

2021 Midlands Regional

COMPETITIVENESS REPORT

TALENT | INNOVATION | ENTREPRENEURIAL & BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT | INDUSTRY CLUSTERS | LIVABILITY


TM

Indicators of

Competitive Communities Measuring success around the five indicators of economically competitive communities As we release the seventh edition of the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, the COVID-19 global pandemic is impacting our lives and our businesses. Because the Competitiveness Report is data from each prior year, that global impact won’t show in these numbers. But it does still give us valuable data. It tells us where we can keep working together to make a positive difference in our region. It tells us the things to celebrate, something we need to do more of so others know and want to be a part of our regional success. While we see many encouraging signs of growth, we recognize that far too many of our neighbors have been left behind by lack of opportunity. As we use this data and work together as leaders in the Midlands Region, we remember that equity and opportunity form the heart of regional competitiveness. If we use this data to work together to ensure our region has the best economic development strategies, inclusive and dynamic livability and robust support for our entrepreneurial and business environment, we will not only recover from COVID-19 but be one of the Southeast’s best places to live, learn, work, play and visit.

- Mayor Elise Partin

Talent

A region’s ability to attract, develop and maintain a vibrant and skilled workforce

Innovative Capacity

A region’s capacity to support the creation of new ideas, products and processes

Entrepreneurial & Business Environment

A region’s relative ease of doing business and the strength of the support system for the startup, growth and maintenance of businesses

Industry Clusters

Chair, EngenuitySC

Cover Photo Courtesy of City Center Partnership

A region’s ability to sustain and grow high impact industries that are competitive on an international scale

COVID-19 and the Competitiveness Report The data in this report identify general economic conditions prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economists believe that the pandemic may exacerbate the existing disparities between higher-performing metros and lower-performing metros.

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2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

Livability

A region’s ability to build an inclusive and dynamic live, learn, work and play environment


Kershaw

Population: 22,347

Population: 66,551

Geography Richland Population: 415,579

Saluda Population: 20,473

Anchored by the state capital, the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) consists of six counties: Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Fairfield, Saluda and Calhoun. As of 2019 Census Bureau Estimates, the Columbia MSA is the second-largest metropolitan statistical area in South Carolina, with a total population of 838,433.

Columbia

Lexington

Our Peer MSAs

Population: 298,750

Shown in order of population

1.

Raleigh, NC MSA* Population: 1,390,785 Counties: Wake, Johnston, Franklin

6.

Greensboro-High Point, NC MSA Population: 771,851 Counties: Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham

2.

Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC MSA Population: 920,477 Counties: Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens

7.

3.

Knoxville, TN MSA Population: 869,406 Counties: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Grainger, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, Union Columbia, SC MSA Population: 838,433 Counties: Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Saluda, Kershaw, Calhoun

Winston-Salem, NC MSA Population: 676,008 Counties: Forsyth, Davidson, Stokes, Yadkin, Davie

8.

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA Population: 608,980 GA Counties: Richmond, Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie | SC Counties: Aiken, Edgefield

9.

Lexington-Fayette, KY MSA Population: 517,056 Counties: Bourbon, Clark, Jessamine, Fayette, Scott, Woodford

Calhoun Population: 14,553

9 4.

7 6 3

1 5.

2

Charleston-North Charleston, SC MSA Population: 802,122 Counties: Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester

4 4

5 8

10. Tallahassee, FL MSA Population: 387,227 Counties: Leon, Wakulla, Gadsden, Jefferson

*Raleigh is an aspirational MSA, meaning it serves as a target for Columbia, as opposed to a peer MSA. Population data source | US Census Bureau, 2019 Census Bureau Estimates

How were the comparative locations chosen?

Our peer MSAs have comparable economic assets to our own, including at least one of the following: • •

State capital Major university in region

Strong higher education system (2-year and 4-year)

• • • •

Comparable population Entrepreneurial environment Strength in technology Similar geographic location and landscape

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www.EngenuitySC.com

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How to Read this Report Methodology This report examines five areas of regional economic competitiveness and plots our success in those areas relative to our peer and aspirant MSAs. Each of these areas is defined by a group of metrics, taken together and weighted equally to comprise the overall score for each MSA. All data in the report is indexed against the national average to facilitate accurate comparisons. 100 represents the U.S. average, so an index value of 110 for the Columbia MSA means that our region is performing 10% above the U.S. average. Likewise, an index of 90 means our region is performing 10% below the U.S. average. (Metric/U.S. Value) x 100 = Index Value

Data Sources All data used is from publicly-accessible federal sources, such as the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Data was compiled and analyzed by economists within the Division of Research at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business.

Other Content in this Report Metrics Individual indicators of success, with our rank among our peers indicated as: nth/10 Observations Critical findings and regional trends, including metrics showing consistent progress or decline over multiple years of the report Brags Sharable points of pride that highlight our region’s successes Inspirations Success stories from other comparable regions to spark our collective imagination Opportunities Critical next steps to drive comprehensive improvement in each area of competitiveness

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2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

FAQs Who determines the area included in the Columbia MSA? The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines MSAs, which are used by the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies for statistical purposes. An MSA is defined as a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area; typically, MSAs are anchored by a single large city that holds considerable influence over the region.

Why are some Midlands counties not included in this report? Some counties that are often thought of as part of the Midlands are not included in the Columbia MSA. These counties include Newberry, Orangeburg and Sumter, among others. We use the geographical area of the Columbia MSA — not the loose definition of “The Midlands” — in order to compare regions in the fairest way possible.

What are traded clusters and why do they matter? Traded clusters are concentrations of businesses in industries whose primary customers are national or global in scope, rather than local to the area: think software companies, financial institutions, and biotech companies. These companies produce about one-third of all jobs, but those jobs provide better compensation and are responsible for over half of all GDP and 90% of innovation.

What is the timeframe of this data? We use the latest available data to facilitate accurate comparisons. Most of the data in this report lags from one to three years, depending on the source.

What is EngenuitySC doing about it? Using input from our Board, staff and partners, recommended solutions are provided in the Opportunities section of each index in the report. Acting on these recommendations will extend far beyond the EngenuitySC team. Long-term improvement will take our collective region working together toward a shared vision and plan.

What can I do? Be a champion for the region and support local businesses! Take every opportunity to tell friends, acquaintances, family members — whether inside or outside the area — about the awesome things you love in Columbia. Have a new favorite restaurant? Know about a company doing cool, innovative things? Share them with your world! Find inspiration at engenuitysc.com/champion-columbia.


The Big Picture Key:

Columbia MSA

Peer Average

GDP Annual Growth Rate | 2006 - 2018

A Word from the Economists U.S. Average

Source | U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

8% 6% 4% 2% 0% -2 % -4 %

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year-Over-Year Employment Growth Rate | 2006-2018

2015

2016

2017

2018

Source | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

5% 3% 1% -1 % -3 % -5 %

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Household Income | 2006-2018

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2016

2017

2018

Source | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

$65K $60K $55K $50K $45K $40K

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Learn more | Changes in America’s population and economy

2012

2013

2014

2015

The year 2020 is one in which all economic data must be interpreted very carefully. The COVID-19 pandemic ended the longest U.S. economic expansion since World War II, disrupting many trends established over the last decade. One of these had been the Columbia MSA’s consistent sluggish growth relative to its peer regions. This includes slower overall employment growth, a reduction in the size of high-value traded clusters and the departure of major company headquarters. As we begin to assess the long-term impacts of COVID-19, one pressing question is whether the Columbia MSA will be able to reverse these recent trends. Although a large public sector presence – including state government and higher education – has provided stability for the Midlands region, these sectors are among the slowest to recover following a recession. The region will have to identify new opportunities to spur growth in the coming years. One such opportunity has been created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of remote work. With employees no longer bound to the geographic location of their employer, many will likely seek to move away from densely populated urban areas to regions with a high quality of life, a relatively lower cost-of-living, and affordable, larger homes. The Columbia MSA has a chance to seize this opportunity to attract and retain this talent, which could help to significantly improve the region’s growth in a post-pandemic world. Source | Joey Von Nessen, Division of Research, UofSC Darla Moore School of Business

Watch | More From the Economists

www.EngenuitySC.com

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Photo Courtesy of SOCO

Talent

The Metrics GDP per Worker: Measures the productivity of a regional workforce

A region’s ability to attract, develop and maintain a vibrant and skilled workforce

7th/10

117

100 U.S. Avg.

STEM Degrees: Percentage of degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering and math

8th/10

88

88

90

89

91

90

92

94

92

STEM Salaries: Weighted average salaries in STEM occupations

8th/10 Knowledge Workers: Percentage of population employed in knowledge-intensive occupations such as management, legal and STEM

6th/10 Educational Attainment: Percentage of population with: Associate’s degree

5th/10 Bachelor’s degree or higher

5th/10 Tallahassee FL

Columbia SC

Lexington KY

WinstonSalem, NC

OVERALL RANKING

OVER TIME 6

Knoxville TN

Augusta GA

Charleston SC

Greensboro NC

Greenville SC

Raleigh NC

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020-21

7 th

8 th

7 th

8 th

10 th

9 th

2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

Global Talent: Percentage of population that is foreignborn

7th/10 Watch | More From the Economists


Talent

Observations • • • •

Columbia saw continued growth in foreign-born talent, compared to our peers. In an increasingly globalized environment, a visibly international community is attractive to talent of all backgrounds. When it comes to educational attainment, the Columbia region’s population is broadly competitive. There’s very little differentiation, particularly in percentages of college graduates. Low percentages of STEM graduates and low salary levels, however, tell us that these degrees likely aren’t in high-growth career areas, such as computer science and engineering. Decreasing traded cluster employment over the past decade and relatively low GDP per employee support this observation. Each year, there’s relatively little separation in this index between our peers across the Southeast. The likely reason is a complex mix of cultural, historical, socioeconomic and political factors.

Brag

Inspiration

Opportunity

Lack of access to education and entry-level positions represents one of the greatest barriers to equity in the technology sector for members of minority populations. Create Opportunity, a new partnership between Midlands Technical College and Columbia-based Cyberwoven, tackles both. Offering qualified students both an accelerated training program and initial job placement, Create Opportunity aims to build a sustainable talent pipeline that meets tech companies’ needs while increasing access to these lucrative careers.

As America’s remote workforce grows, forward-thinking, midsized communities like Savannah and Tulsa are adjusting their economic development strategies to focus on talented people, not just major companies. Recognizing that highly-paid workers and their families spend substantially more with local businesses and generate more tax revenue, these communities are offering financial incentives — up to $10,000 per worker — to those who move to their cities and meet certain criteria. Learn more | Tulsa Remote

COVID-19 has led to a reshuffling of the American officebased sector, with many employees now able to work from anywhere. That’s led to significant numbers of people leaving high-priced tech centers like San Francisco and New York in favor of accessible, affordable midsized metros. With its reasonably priced housing market, downtown housing boom and access to amenities, the Columbia region can look to other metros that are using targeted marketing efforts — like Tulsa and Savannah — and financial incentives to harness this migration from major cities and bring fresh talent to the Midlands. Learn more | Strategies to attract remote workers

Watch Hear more from Create Opportunity’s founding partners

www.EngenuitySC.com

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Photo Courtesy of Robert Clark Photography / Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Innovative Capacity A region’s capacity to support the creation of new ideas, products and processes

201

206

206

Augusta GA

7th/10 Percent of population aged 25 years and older holding a graduate degree

5th/10

131

125

Research & Development: Funding:

97

Amount awarded from all sources per 1,000 people

6th/10

48 Greensboro NC

WinstonSalem, NC

Columbia SC

OVERALL RANKING

OVER TIME 8

University and college R&D expenditures per 1,000 people

Academic Achievement:

66 43

SBIR and STTR Awards per 100,000 residents

University Research & Development Expenditures:

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are two of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. They allow US-owned-and-operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization. SBIR awards can be procured directly by small businesses, while STTR awards require formal collaboration with a research institution.

94

Innovation Awards:

9th/10

What are SBIR and STTR awards?

100 U.S. Avg.

The Metrics

Greenville SC

Charleston SC

Knoxville TN

Tallahassee FL

Lexington KY

Raleigh NC

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020-21

7 th

7 th

8 th

8 th

7 th

7 th

2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

Watch | More From the Economists


Innovative Capacity

Observations • •

Columbia improved in this area, thanks to a series of record-breaking years for research funding at the University of South Carolina. We continue to rank above the national average for the percentage of graduate and professional degree holders and for non-federally sourced R&D funding. As Columbia and UofSC attract increased research attention from the Department of Defense, the community should continue to build the visibility of its research profile. º Watch | Dr. Ramy Harik discusses talent and smart manufacturing with S.C. Commerce’s Scribble

Brag

Inspiration

Opportunity

Since arriving in Lexington County from Orlando, FL in 2012, Nephron Pharmaceuticals has grown rapidly, expanding into new markets and product lines. The growth was aided by the addition of a 503B sterile compounding facility that allows them to meet new demand during drug shortages. Their most recent expansion — representing an investment of over $215M and 380 new jobs — will allow Nephron to meet demand for its respiratory medications and will prepare them to potentially produce vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more | Nephron Pharmaceuticals has some big New Year’s resolutions for 2021

In August 2020, Duck Creek Technologies held their Initial Public Offering (IPO), a major step for a company with deep ties to Columbia and a sign of our community’s healthy innovation environment. The insurance software company has continued to add to their employee presence in Columbia, expanding to a second floor in 2019 and increasing its local employment by over 30% in 2020 alone. As Columbia’s insurance technology sector continues to grow, Duck Creek’s success is a model for the opportunity presented by the Columbia region’s intersection of a uniquely broad talent pool, supportive community and high quality of life.

A new 5-year, $5.7M NASA grant will bring together UofSC and Benedict College, supported by other schools around the country, to work on new technologies and advanced materials for urban air mobility vehicle (think drone deliveries and air taxis) components. The research will center on scalable assembly and production techniques using new lightweight, high-strength materials. As the reach of the McNAIR Aerospace Center grows, this sort of research can be attractive to aerospace companies looking for a new location. At the same time, it will introduce students to career opportunities in the next generation of aerospace — one of South Carolina’s most prominent statewide clusters.

Photo Courtesy of Nephron Pharmaceuticals/Joshua Aaron Photography

Where Are They Now? | ZVerse

www.EngenuitySC.com

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Photo Courtesy of Lynn Luc / SOCO

Entrepreneurial & Business Environment A region’s relative ease of doing business and the strength of the support system for the startup, growth and maintenance of businesses

132

100

137

Proprietor’s Income Share: Percentage of income in a region generated by business ownership

5th/10 Small Business Activity: Measure of a region’s capacity to produce new companies

4th/10

115

U.S. Avg.

The Metrics

Business Density: Number of establishments per 1,000 employees

87

81 66

4th/10

89

Business Services:

73

66

Share of population employed in professional and technical services occupations

4th/10

41

Establishment Growth Rate: Growth in number of business establishments, 2000-2016

3rd/10 Greenville SC

WinstonSalem, NC

Greensboro NC

Lexington KY

OVERALL RANKING

OVER TIME 10

Knoxville TN

Augusta GA

Raleigh NC

Columbia SC

Tallahassee FL

Charleston SC

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020-21

7 th

7 th

9 th

3 rd

3 rd

3 rd

2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

Watch | More From the Economists


Entrepreneurial & Business Environment

Observations • • • •

As demonstrated by one of the highest establishment growth rates among its peers, Columbia continues to harbor a “small business-first” environment. By providing a strong support ecosystem, the region can ensure inclusive growth as these companies mature and reach new customers. The Columbia region’s share of employment in professional and technical services is third among our peers. Possibly related to state government’s (a frequent customer of these support industries) outsized local presence, this presents an opportunity for continued growth as a regional hub for technical expertise. While these institutions provide a measure of stability across economic fluctuations, they also can serve as a hindrance to growth. Often offering lower salaries than comparable private-sector positions, these jobs are likely to be among the slowest to be replaced following the COVID-19 pandemic. Tax data is not consistently available across metropolitan areas, thereby excluding it from analysis. Both Richland and Lexington Counties, however, tax industrial properties at substantially higher rates than our South Carolina counterparts, due in part to the effects of Act 388. This hampers the region’s overall competitiveness. Source | Lincoln Institute study

Brag

Inspiration

Opportunities

Innovate Columbia, a digital hub for entrepreneurial resources in the Midlands, launched in September 2020. The site provides entrepreneurs at every stage of company development a central location to track down exactly the support they need. Featuring the success stories of locallygrown businesses and a calendar of upcoming events, Innovate Columbia inspires and connects while enhancing access to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As Greenville worked for decades to recover from the shock of losing its one-time economic base of textile manufacturing, community leaders began to discuss the importance of physical hubs for entrepreneurship and innovation. In the late 2000s, the NEXT Innovation Center was developed as a centerpiece for the Upstate’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, offering flexible, affordable spaces and support for growing, tech-centric businesses. NEXT, representing a partnership between the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, City of Greenville and Hughes Development, invites the exchange of creative ideas through its walkable downtown location, shared spaces and opportunities for mentorship and learning. Learn more | NEXT is becoming an independent organization to enhance its impact

A s schools and businesses pivot to learning and working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of broadband access. Several Columbia-area business leaders have championed a campaign to increase broadband access in rural areas, led by South Carolina’s legislative delegation. This effort can increase educational and career equity for underserved communities throughout our region and across the state.

COVID-19 has placed many small businesses into survival mode. As the economic recovery begins, efforts — such as Columbia Economic Development’s “Support Small, Save Local” video series — encouraging residents to shop and dine “local” will be critical to shoring the foundation of our unique Midlands economy. Watch Support Small, Save Local

www.EngenuitySC.com

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Industry Clusters

The Metrics High-Impact Density: Share of regional employment in traded clusters

A region’s ability to sustain and grow high-impact industries that are competitive on an international scale

8th/10 Employment Diversity:

100

U.S. Avg.

103

Concentration of jobs in high-wage occupations (annual pay greater than median household income)

75

10th/10

67

Traded Cluster Employment Growth:

60 52 40

2nd/10 High-Wage Employment:

90

Growth of employment in traded clusters, 2000-2016

45

44

Concentration of employment in top five occupations

7th/10

33

Household Income: Median Household Income, 2018

4th/10 Augusta GA

Tallahassee FL

Lexington KY

Columbia SC

OVERALL RANKING

OVER TIME 12

Knoxville TN

Greenville SC

Charleston SC

Greensboro NC

WinstonSalem, NC

Raleigh NC

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020-21

7th

7 th

8th

9 th

9 th

7 th

2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

Watch | More From the Economists


Industry Clusters

Observations •

Columbia continues to have a diverse economic profile, with no one industry dominating employment. The correct balance is important for long-term growth. A single strong industry cluster can power years or decades of robust job creation, but can leave a region without long-term economic resilience if that industry is disrupted. Many small cities across Appalachia, once dependent on mining or furniture manufacturing without further diversification, have been left stranded by broad industry shifts. At the same time, a total lack of strong industry clusters reflects a region that lacks dynamism. The regions which perform best in the long run are those with multiple strong, successful industry clusters, comprised of firms which reinvest in their communities. Since 2010, Columbia’s total employment in traded clusters has decreased by 2.6%. This is an area of significant concern: on the whole, traded clusters (high-impact industries with products primarily traded outside the immediate area) pay better wages, are responsible for more GDP and generate more innovation than local clusters. Additionally, Columbia’s loss of traded cluster jobs can be directly tied to the low percentage of employment in high-wage occupations.

Brag

Inspiration

Opportunity

Spurred by the region’s changing economic profile, Columbia’s economic development community is teaming to implement a comprehensive action plan. Richland County, Lexington County, the City of Columbia, the Central SC Alliance, the University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College and SCRA are leading a highly collaborative effort to promote the growth of knowledge-based sectors throughout their industry value chains. Key sectors include information technology, financial services, biotechnology, medical devices, and the aerospace supply chain. Learn more | Adapting economic development strategies

Over the past few decades, a few regions have outpaced their peers in economic growth. Chief among those is Nashville, TN. Known as recently as the 1990s for an empty downtown, the city has since attracted young talent by leveraging its cultural heritage in branding and marketing campaigns. As industry follows talent, the Nashville region has become home to growing clusters in financial services, technology and healthcare. With Columbia’s potential to be a national destination for outdoor recreation and a growing list of prominent restaurants — not to mention the energy afforded by its status as a major college town — the ingredients are in place for similar economic diversification and growth. Learn more | Insights from On the Table with CCCF

The Columbia region has several major industrial parks currently under development, providing sites with the potential to attract tens of thousands of jobs: •

The 1,544 acre I-77 International Megasite in Fairfield County — located just north of Columbia — will leverage the site’s proximity to talent and convenient location to attract a major manufacturer and suppliers, with a heavy focus on the automotive industry. The 1,349 acre Blythewood Business Park in Richland County will offer a highly-accessible location with the potential for 5.3 million square feet of industrial and office space, aligned with the County’s study, in a rapidly-growing area. Columbia Metropolitan Airport is developing unused property into two new industrial parks in Lexington County. Joining the nearby Saxe Gotha and Lexington County industrial parks, the sites will offer prospects air-, rail-, and interstate-accessible properties with a strong workforce pool. The new sites will be joined by nearby Sandy Run Industrial Park, straddling Lexington and Calhoun Counties to offer a 761-acre site convenient to I-26, I-77, I-20 and rail lines. Learn more | New industrial parks adding capacity

www.EngenuitySC.com

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Livability

The Metrics Arts and Entertainment: Employment in arts, entertainment and recreation

A region’s ability to build an inclusive and dynamic live, learn, work and play environment

100 U.S. Avg. 92

94

99

97

95

103

104

103

3rd/10

110

110

Healthcare Access: Physicians per 100,000 residents

5th/10 Commute Time: Average commute time to work

8th/10 Vitality: Percentage of population aged 15 - 44 years old

4th/10 Cost of Living Index: Relative cost of housing and everyday items

7th/10 Crime: Violent crime rate per 100,000 residents

10th/10 Gallup Well-Being Index: WinstonSalem, NC

Greenville SC

Knoxville TN

Columbia SC

Greensboro Tallahassee NC FL

Charleston SC

Raleigh NC

Augusta GA

Lexington KY

A 5-part index measuring well-being in the physical, community, financial, social, and career areas

10th/10

OVERALL RANKING

OVER TIME 14

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020-21

5 th

3 rd

5 th

8 th

8 th

7 th

2020-21 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report

Watch | More From the Economists


Livability

Observations • • •

Columbia continues its strong performance in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector, with its third straight year topping its peers in growth. Properly marketed, this critical sector can serve as a flashpoint in attracting talent and businesses. A strong population shift towards Lexington County — which housed about 60% of the MSA’s year-over-year growth — has contributed to an uptick in commute times. With no signs of slowing down, this area should be evaluated closely for mass transit options to reduce congestion and increase efficiency. Though the region has seen improvement, the violent crime rate in the Columbia MSA is the worst among our peers. An abundance of scientific literature ties violent crime most closely to localized economic disadvantage. This highlights the importance of place-based approaches to economic development, ensuring that all parts of the community have access to quality education and real job opportunities. Learn more | Economic opportunity and violent crime

Brag

Inspiration

Opportunities

Over the past several years, Columbia has led our peers in arts and entertainment growth — and the two have come together to catalyze recent growth in Cayce. The river city’s historic downtown on State Street has been revitalized with a kaleidoscope of public art that is attracting new businesses, like Piecewise Coffee, and bringing new residents to the Avenues and its walkable surrounding neighborhoods. Just up the road, Steel Hands Brewing, the area’s largest brewery, draws craft brew lovers to a site adjacent to CMC Steel. By investing in community-centric amenities, the city is successfully encouraging the inclusive revitalization of older neighborhoods. Learn more | Arts and growth in Cayce and West Columbia

In the early 1990s, Oklahoma City looked much like many other cities at the time, with residents and businesses leaving downtown in droves. Its turnaround has been led by two strategic investments in the city’s built environment. First, the city leveraged an existing asset by refilling the dry Oklahoma River and redeveloping the surrounding area with parks, offices, public venues and attractions to bring people back downtown. With more people downtown, Oklahoma City then worked on keeping them there. By narrowing a network of wide, one-way streets and reestablishing these as two-way city streets, Oklahoma City has created a safe and inviting pedestrian atmosphere that has proven great for businesses of all types — from large corporations to after-hours restaurants and attractions.

As the Columbia region grows, transit will be a major factor in maintaining the high quality of life residents now know. Innovative partnerships to expand mass transit to growing industrial parks and major employers — such as the COMET’s route between downtown Columbia, Dominion Energy, Amazon and Nephron Pharmaceuticals — can increase access for employees and reduce transportation costs, while ensuring companies can meet their staffing needs. Learn more | Addressing rising commute times The development of Columbia as a hub in the emerging telehealth sector would both expand healthcare access and create more jobs for area residents. COVID-19 is forcing wider adoption of telehealth technologies by providers and patients alike, and with smartphones accessible to almost everyone, telemedicine provides an avenue to reducing some of the public health inequalities seen in the Gallup Well-Being Index. Learn more | The Future of public health in the Midlands

www.EngenuitySC.com

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TM

Platinum Sponsors

About EngenuitySC Governed by high-ranking regional leaders in education, government and business, EngenuitySC is a nonprofit that works to make the Columbia, S.C., region a standout choice for top talent and competitive companies. Structured as a neutral and independent project management team, EngenuitySC is known for achieving progress through partnerships using a unique, highly effective process. Whether it is equipping K-12 students with career-ready skills, elevating quality of life with the Midlands Business Leadership Group, or producing the Competitiveness Series and the annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, EngenuitySC is a trusted force, working behind the scenes to build a community cultivated for living, working, playing and learning. Learn more at www.engenuitysc.com.

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Board Members Mayor Elise Partin — Chair City of Cayce

Ben Green Insurance Advantage

Ted Nissen — Chair-Elect First Community Bank

Bill Kirkland The University of South Carolina Office of Economic Engagement

Paul Livingston — Secretary/Treasurer Richland County Council Mayor Steve Benjamin — Founding Co-Chair City of Columbia President Bob Caslen — Founding Co-Chair The University of South Carolina

Edna Langley Langley 3, LLC Dr. Greg Little Lexington County School District One John Lumpkin

President Roslyn Artis Benedict College

Lasenta Lewis-Ellis LLE Construction, LLC

Lee Bussell Chernoff Newman

Chakisse Newton Richland County Council

Beth Carrigg Lexington County Council

President Ron Rhames Midlands Technical College

Morgan Crapps Parker Poe Consulting

Dr. Keith Shah Optum

Scott Graves BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina

P.O. Box 5683 | Columbia, SC 29250 | 803.354.5720 | engenuitysc.com

Bronze Sponsors • • • • • • • • •

Aflac Arnold Companies BullStreet District Central Carolina Community Foundation Colliers International | South Carolina Columbia Chamber of Commerce First Citizens Bank First Community Bank Greater Lexington Chamber and Visitors Center

• • • • • • • •

Insurance Advantage John Lumpkin Lexington Medical Center LLE Construction Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative Nelson Mullins Parker Poe Synovus

Public and Education Partners