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Hitt: S.C. economic development pipeline ‘strong’

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Updated at 2:24 p.m. to reflect today's announcement by Bintelli Inc. in Charleston County

On the day state and local officials celebrated China Jushi’s plans to invest $300 million and create 400 jobs in Richland County, about 70 miles to the north CompuCom Systems announced it was investing $41 million and creating 1,500 jobs at its new global headquarters in Lancaster County.

S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt (center), listens to a speech along with Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster (left), and Nelson Lindsay, director of global business development at the state Commerce Department during the Dec. 8 groundbreaking for China Jushi's new plant in Richland County. (Photo/Chuck Crumbo)The next day, Germany-based Evonik Corp. announced a $120 million investment and creation of more than 50 jobs in Berkeley County.

Those deals are just part of what seems to be a cascade of more than 100 economic development projects that were announced in 2016 across the Palmetto State. Chances are there’ll be more next year.

“2017 is going to be a very strong year,” S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said in a recent interview with the Columbia Regional Business Report.

Business activity tends to slow down in years of U.S. presidential elections, Hitt said. But now that the election is history, companies can better plan their next moves. In addition, a rebounding economy is also causing a lift in activity.

Looking back at 2016, through Nov. 30 the Commerce Department had announced more than 105 economic development projects totaling $3.05 billion in capital investment and the creation of approximately 9,400 jobs, an agency spokesman said.

So far in December, a dozen projects totaling about $402 million in investment and 3,000 new jobs have been announced by Commerce.

“Right now, things are lifting fast,” Hitt said, noting that there has been a lot of activity and that the project pipeline for South Carolina appears strong.  “Business is brisk.” 

Here’s a quick look at December’s deals:

Dec. 21 – Bintelli LLC, manufacturer and distributor of mopeds, scooters and electric vehicles, expansion of Charleston County operation, investment not disclosed, 23 jobs.

Dec. 20 – Labon, technical fiber and textile manufacturer, $3.1 million, 23 jobs, Orangeburg County.

Dec. 15 – Techtronic Industries, manufacturer of consumer, professional and industrial products, $75 million, 250 jobs, Anderson County.

Dec. 15 –  ProBrass Inc., startup manufacturer of rifle brass cartridge cases, $40 million, 47 jobs, Clarendon County.

Dec. 14 – MM Technics, metal stamping facility, $12.6 million, 65 jobs, Newberry County.

Dec. 14 – R+L Carriers, global logistics and shipping company, $7 million, 25 jobs, Hampton County.

Dec. 14 – PL Developments, manufacturer of pharmaceutical and consumer health care products, $45 million, 450 jobs, Greenville County.

Dec. 13 – Evonik Corp., chemical manufacturer, $120 million, 50 jobs, Berkeley County.

Dec. 8 – CompuCom Systems, technology infrastructure services, $41 million, 1,500 jobs, Lancaster County.

Dec. 7 – VELUX, manufacturer of skylights and roof windows, $4 million, 21 jobs, Greenwood County.

Dec. 6 – Magna International, automotive supplier, $29 million, 480 jobs, Spartanburg County.

Dec. 6 – B&W Fiberglass, advanced materials manufacturer, $5 million, 46 jobs, Greenville County.

Dec. 2 – Ortec, biomaterial and polymer technology company, $20 million, 60 jobs, Anderson County.

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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