Military Impact to South Carolina’s Economy Remains Strong

South Carolina recently released its 2022 analysis on the economic impact of the military community at the state and regional level. It should be no surprise the facts show that the Beaufort Region is strongly intertwined with the military and Department of Defense partners that call the region home and the economic benefits of this close cooperation have only increased with time.

Since the last Economic Impact Study, in 2017, the Beaufort Region has seen an increase in military economic level in nearly every metric. The numbers of military-affiliated personnel in the region have grown, especially the number of veterans living within the region, which increased by seven percent. Annual military economic impact increased from $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion per year and the number of jobs supported by military activity showed a nearly ten percent increase from 19,460 jobs to 21,241 jobs. Overall, the Beaufort Region continues to be a desirable location for military members to live and work.

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island continued its trend of being the largest driver of military economic activity in the Beaufort Region. The 2022 study showed that MCRD Parris Island contributes $655 million in overall economic impact to the Beaufort Region and a total of $805.6 million to South Carolina. The majority of this activity is due to out-of-state visitors attending graduation and family days at the depot which highlights how Parris Island provides significant net economic gain to the region and state.

The other major installation within the Beaufort Region, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, saw a slight decrease in economic output since the 2017 study, but nevertheless remains a strong force of economic activity. The 2022 study showed that MCAS Beaufort is associated with approximately 6,877 jobs and a total of $591.1 million of economic impact to the Beaufort Region. Additionally, MCAS Beaufort provides $746.2 million in economic impact to South Carolina.

The best news regarding MCAS Beaufort is the potential for further growth through its enduring missions. As the owner of the F-35B training mission, MCAS Beaufort will be the hub for F-35B instruction, including domestic and international student pilots, through 2067. Also located at MCAS Beaufort, the Townsend Bombing Range (TBR) is a one-of-a-kind facility which provides the only Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) training capability on the east coast and serves customers all along the easter seaboard. These capabilities will ensure MCAS Beaufort continues to benefit the Beaufort Region and South Carolina for many decades to come.

The Beaufort Region ranked fourth of South Carolina’s nine regions in the 2022 Military Economic Impact Study, close behind the Upstate Region, Midlands Region, and Charleston Region. The study found that military generates one of every nine South Carolina jobs and provides 11.2 percent of the overall South Carolina economy. These are both significant increases from the 2017 Military Economic Impact Study which found the military community generating one in every twelve jobs and the military as 8.4 percent of the South Carolina economy. This data makes it clear that South Carolina is a military state with great economic potential from its military installations, military projects, and military members and that the Beaufort Region is a key contributor and partner to this prosperity.

To read more about the recent study, click here.

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The Military Enhancement Committee (MEC) of Beaufort County Support Fund is a charitable fund administered by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Its mission is to enhance the quality and value of the military installations of Beaufort County, namely, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Naval Air Station Beaufort, and Beaufort Naval Hospital. The MEC seeks to defend these installations against any threats like closure or natural disaster, while also positioning them for enhancement through personnel, resources, and other opportunities that both benefit the Department of Defense and our region.