U.S. military personnel in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties have an annual economic impact of $4.67 billion, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Business Research said Thursday.
According to a study by the center, 22,000 active-duty, reserve and civilian personnel work for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Charleston area, with a combined annual payroll of $840 million.
Now that the Charleston Air Force Base and the Naval Weapons Station have formed Joint Base Charleston, that operation is the region’s largest single employer, with 20,172 employees, chamber officials said.
During the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, local military facilities reported $18.6 million in new construction and $71.4 million in facilities renovations. When combined with the direct military jobs, the sector supports more than 36,000 jobs in the Charleston region, according to the chamber’s study.
The $4.67 billion figure takes into account payroll and spending in the community, officials said. It includes contractors working directly for military facilities but not private defense contractors.
The chamber said the impact of private contractors, more than 80 of which are located in the Charleston area, was the subject of a separate economic impact study of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, known by the acronym SPAWAR.
That study, by the University of South Carolina, said SPAWAR makes a $2.6 billion impact on the state economy and supports 24,631 jobs in South Carolina.
For its study, the Center for Business Research used the region’s IMPLAN, an economic impact model specific to the three-county Charleston region.