Here comes the sun. It’s what we’re fortunate to see rise over our 65 miles of beachfront more than 200 days out of the year here in Myrtle Beach. But we’re talking about more than just the sun in the horizon.
We’re talking about the cost of doing business that’s lighting up the future horizon of Myrtle Beach. We’ll break down the reasons why the business climate here is friendly and a healthy one – and how Myrtle Beach and South Carolina stacks up against other metros in the U.S. when getting down to business.
Let’s start with the fact that South Carolina was ranked No. 3 in the country for top states for doing business in 2014 by Area Development Magazine. The ranking was based on 14 key site selection criteria, including labor climate, cost of doing business, labor costs, incentives, certified/shovel-ready sites, cooperative government, utility rates, speed of permitting, workforce development and regulatory environment. The magazine also named South Carolina a 2015 Gold Shovel award winner in recognition of economic development projects undertaken in 2014; it’s the seventh year in a row we’ve received this award.
More specifically in Myrtle Beach, the low cost of living (7 percent lower than the rest of the U.S.) and doing business here makes it one of the fastest growing MSAs in the country. Here’s why (and how):
At 5 percent, combined with an average local sales tax rate of 1.13 percent, South Carolina is among the lowest in the nation and the Southeast. Other states tend to combine income and loss of related companies to total apportionable income, but South Carolina is a separate entity state, so multi-state companies will only pay taxes on income made from business conducted in South Carolina. According to Kiplinger’s 2014 analysis of state tax rules, we’re ranked ninth most tax-friendly state.
In comparison, Michigan totals come in higher, with a corporate income tax and sales tax each at 6 percent. The average sales tax in Arizona, including metro Phoenix, is 8.3 percent..
South Carolina is among 10 states with the lowest cost of labor on Business Facilities’ Rankings Report, based on unionization rates, cost of unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation premiums, hourly pay in manufacturing, average annual pay in the private sector, and average employer cost for an “employee plus one” health care premium. Forbes ranks South Carolina's regulatory environment fifth best in the nation for business, based on labor regulations, health insurance coverage mandates, the tort system, tax incentives and other measures.
South Carolina’s diverse mix of energy sources (hydroelectric, nuclear, coal, natural gas and other renewable resources) places us at costs that are 15 percent less than the national average. Industrial electricity costs in South Carolina average 5.74 cents per kilowatt hour, among the lowest in the nation. For natural gas, we price out at $5.17 per thousand cubic feet, compared to $5.56 and $6.96 for neighboring Georgia and North Carolina, respectively.
Myrtle Beach is strategically situated along the Atlantic coast to the east and bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway to the west. Hop in a car, and you’re only a few hours’ drive to Charlotte, five to Atlanta, and about two hours from the port city of Charleston, S.C., the nation’s eighth largest seaport (coming in only behind Texas, Louisiana, California, Florida, Washington, Illinois and New York) that handled more than $64 billion in waterborne commerce in 2012. Charleston container volume increased by 9.6 percent in 2012, leading all ports on the South Atlantic, Gulf, and West Coasts. Overall, more than 20,000 companies in two dozen states depend on the Port of Charleston to reach their overseas suppliers and buyers. By air, the newly expanded Myrtle Beach International Airport connects thousands of people in its terminals each day to destinations around the world.
According to a 2012 Marshall Valuation Service report, construction costs in South Carolina are some of the lowest in the Southeast and the Nation – only higher than Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Overall the cost in the Southeastern region ranges from 5-12 percent below the United States average for Class A office facilities.
The blueprints for Myrtle Beach feature plans that will continue to build businesses here affordably. We’re known for our network of local industry leaders dedicated to expanding and recruiting new industries to our community and for an explosive population growth rate of 37 percent. Chief Executive magazine (May 2013 issue) agreed, pegging South Carolina the 8th best state for businesses, based on an annual poll of CEOs.
Until you and your business are ready to make the move, plant yourself on our award-winning beach and soak in that sun shining in the horizon.
By Ashley Daniels