May 9, 2023
By Jacki Renegar, Director, Research & Business Intelligence
“The 6th Best Labor Market in the United States” – that’s the accolade that The Wall Street Journal recently bestowed on the Charleston Metro Area out of 326 U.S. metros of less than 1 million in population.
That’s right in line with the performance of the rest of the Charleston economy in 2022, when the region returned to setting economic records like it had been before COVID-19’s impact. Not only were new records set in labor force and employment levels, but also in many other areas including new business formations, port and airport activity, retail sales, and various visitor industry metrics.
Local employers added 20,500 net new jobs by the end of 2022 compared to the end of the previous year. The top two growth sectors — professional & business services and trade/transportation/utilities – were responsible for nearly half of the year’s growth. Jobs added in the professional and business services sector were driven mostly by engineering firms, tech consulting companies, software/systems design firms and staffing agencies. In the trade, transportation and utilities sector, the new jobs were mostly at warehousing and storage operations (such as the new Walmart Import Distribution Center in Dorchester County) and at general merchandise retailers.
Movement of goods through the Port of Charleston also set a record in 2022, maintaining its rank as a top 10 container port in the U.S. and validating its newest achievement as the deepest harbor on the East Coast. Similarly, Charleston International Airport set passenger records last year and continues to add flights, helping to increase connectivity between Charleston and the rest of the globe.
The Charleston region’s population estimate for 2022 from the U.S. Census Bureau rang in at approximately 830,000, a 1.9% increase from 2021. Since more than half of the nation’s 3,100+ counties experienced a population decline, we are fortunate to live in a growing community where employers foresee a sustainable workforce pipeline –today’s #1 employer concern — and so they continue to invest in and grow their businesses here, helping to bolster long-term prosperity.
Learn more about Charleston’s success here.