County Info


Advantages of the NESA Region

The NESA Region is the prime location for your business due to our extensive infrastructure, close proximity to the Ports of Charleston, Savannah and Wilmington and competitive land and labor costs.  Other key advantages of the NESA Region include:

  • Average annual wage rates competitive with overall U.S. rates.
  • Electrical and construction costs lower than national average.
  • A wide variety of industrial properties.
  • Tax credits of up to $8,000 per job.
  • Advanced manufacturing and state-of-the-art training facility located within the region.

A Prime Location for Your Business

With a location halfway between New York and Miami and consisting of nine counties in north eastern South Carolina with a population base of over 700,000 and a business-friendly environment, the NESA Region provides the ideal mix of community and commerce to enable the success and growth of your business.

Transportation Benefits

Regional Infrastructure:

  • Interstates 20, 95, and the proposed Interstate 73
  • U.S. Highways 17, 378, 52, 521, 701, 301, 1 and 501
  • Florence Regional Airport & Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Class I CSX track with access to the Port of Charleston

Parts of the Region are located within 45 minutes of:

  • Interstates 26 and 77
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • CSX railways
  • Port of Charleston and Port of Wilmington, N.C.

Port Summary

The NESA Region is located in close proximity to the Ports of Charleston, Savannah, and Wilmington.

South Carolina's Port of Charleston, with direct access to Eastern markets, has the highest productivity in the U.S. The Port of Charleston has five terminals (3 container, 2 breakbulk) with direct access to five interstates. The Port is currently expanding through the construction of a new terminal and has the ability to handle post-Panamax vessels.


The NESA Region is home to numerous sites including South Carolina Certified industrial parks which offer shovel-ready sites for companies expanding to the region. The region also boasts a vast inventory of buildings available at highly competitive prices. Search for sites, buildings, or call center buildings.

A Highly Productive & Skilled Workforce

South Carolina and the NESA Region have a strong history of manufacturing excellence and are home to world class companies such as BMW, Boeing, GE Healthcare, Michelin, Kyocera, Conbraco, Honda, Johnson Controls, Sonoco and others. With one of the most productive workforces in the nation, South Carolina excels at manufacturing everything from luxury vehicles, to highly advanced medical equipment, to all-terrain vehicles, to pharmaceuticals, and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. These world class companies have had no difficulty finding, recruiting, and retaining talented and productive workers, technicians, and management employees.

The highly concentrated number of skilled workers who are employed by these industries, like many other highly educated professionals in the state, creates a mindset of education achievement that continues to grow. This mindset has demonstrated the ability to embrace new technologies as they become available, making the workforce of the NESA Region all the more productive. Numerous excellent state workforce training programs are designed to encourage the adaptation of these new technologies.

South Carolina and the NESA Region are leading the nation in advanced manufacturing and research and development initiatives, making our region an ideal location for a company that is focused on the future.


With over a million people within sixty miles of the NESA Region's center, the region's workforce is one of the top three most productive in the United States and the first in the Southeast. The labor force in the region has continued to increase exponentially in proportion with the region's increasing population.

The NESA Region has 83,600 workers who are classified as "underemployed" based on their skills sets compared to their actual occupations. Of the number, 44,300 have experience in manufacturing, assembly, or fabrication. These workers would be willing to be employed by other firms and have a desired median pay rate of $15.14/hour.

In addition, there are nearly 25,000 unemployed people within the region who have experience in manufacturing, assembly, or fabrication. According to a recent labor study, nearly 74% of these workers lost their jobs through no fault of their own and as a result of economic conditions. The median desired wage rate for these workers is $10.75/hour.

For a more detailed analysis of NESA's labor force, please click here.

Workforce Training

The NESA Region's workforce is one of the most productive in the United States and first in the Southeast. The region has training resources available to you from recruiting and screening assistance to on the job training through ReadySC.  The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) also offers customized training and startup assistance.

Ready SC

An affiliate of the South Carolina Technical College System, ReadySC develops, implements, and manages custom workforce training programs - free of charge - to support new and existing businesses. By providing screening, recruiting, and training of new employees, ReadySC is able to meet the staffing demands of new companies by providing a fully-trained workforce on the first day of operations.

Collaborative Effort - ReadySC will collaborate with state agencies to recruit, screen, and train potential employees for companies who locate in South Carolina. After several screenings, client companies select which workers will be trained. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide five qualified candidates for every one job.

Motivated Employee Pool - The program is voluntary for workers, meaning your company will have the benefit of having an available pool of self-motivated workers. Your company is not legally obligated to hire program participants but will reap substantial financial benefits from having an applicant pool of trained workers.

Service Throughout the Process - ReadySC offers training and assistance during any phase of the process, as well as pre-employment and/or on-the-job training. Fast track degree programs are also available. ReadySC does not take the "one size fits all" approach: they will customize a program for a specific type of worker for a specific company.


The first facility of it's kind in the United States, the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology provides the support needed by area and future industries to advance the region's ability to provide a highly trained workforce. Made possible by partnerships with businesses and industries, this facility features an Advanced Manufacturing Center, 3-D/Virtual Reality Center and a National Robotics Center. SiMT offers open-enrollment, on-site and customized training as well as manufacturing startup assistance and consulting services.

A Thriving Business Environment

Many successful, world-class businesses have already chosen to make their home in the NESA Region of South Carolina, and their increasing growth and revenue are a testimony to the area's potential. Because of the NESA Region's ideal location, diligent workforce, supportive government and easily accessible resources, area businesses have thrived and continue to do some. Some of the region's major employers include: AVM, Conbraco, Georgia Pacific, Domtar, General Electric, Hitachi (Metglas), Honda, International Paper, Johnson Controls, Kyocera (AVX), Martek, Mohawk Industries, Monster, Nan Ya Plastics, Nucor, Perdue Farms, QVC, Sonoco, and Wal-Mart Distribution Center.

Utilities and Telecommunication Resources

Not only does the NESA Region have a harmonious business environment, it also has an affordable utility and telecommunications support available as well.


NESA realizes that having a reliable supply of electricity is a necessity for manufacturing operations The counties that compose the NESA Region are served by both Duke Energy Progress and the state-owned Santee Cooper via Horry Electric Cooperative, Lynches River Cooperative, Marlboro Electric Cooperative, Pee Dee Electric Coopertive, and Santee Electric Cooperative.

  • Electricity rates in South Carolina are nearly 20% below the national average.
  • Many sites in the NESA Region are dual served sites.
  • Uninterruptable power solutions (UPS) and backup power generation are available.

Water and Sewer

Most of the sites and buildings in the region have millions of gallons per day of excess capacity on both their water and wastewater systems. Some of our sites also sit atop aquifers.

Telecommunications and Fiber Optic Network

The NESA Region is served by AT&T, Farmers Telephone Cooperative, Horry Telephone Cooperative, Spectrum and Frontier Communications.  All of these providers offer fast and reliable fiber optic networks. Self-healing networks are available for large industrial sites. SONET is available at many sites in the region and dedicated T-1 lines are available upon request.

A Wealth of Economic Advantages - Cost of Doing Business

Not only does the NESA Region have a highly qualified, available workforce and a plethora of sites and buildings to meet your needs, it is also a cost-effective location.

Corporate Income Tax Incentives

One of the lowest rates in the Southeast (5%)

Job Tax Credits

  • Available to manufacturing, distribution, processing, warehousing, research and development and tourism facilities
  • Can offset 50% of company's state income tax
  • Unused credits can be carried forward for 15 years

Property Tax Incentives

  • Property tax abatements can provide savings of 20-25% of property tax costs
  • Fee-in-lieu of property tax agreements offer a property tax reduction of 30-45%
  • Property tax exemptions available for inventories (raw materials, work-in-progress, finished goods), intangibles (stocks, dividends, interest), and pollution control equipment

Sales Tax Exemptions

  • Electricity and fuel used in manufacturing processes
  • Machinery, equipment, repairs used in production
  • Raw/packaging materials  

Job Development Credits

Discretionary incentive that can be used to offset capital expenditures by rebating a portion of new employees' withholding taxes

Economic Development Set-Aside Program

Assists companies in locating/expanding in South Carolina through infrastructure or site improvements and other related costs

Enterprise Zone Retraining Credit Program

  • Helps existing industries maintain a competitive edge
  • Allows companies to claim a Retraining Credit for existing employees
  • If approved, companies may reimburse themselves up to 50% of training costs for eligible production workers

Rural Infrastructure Fund

  • Provides rural counties with financial assistance for economic development activities
  • Used for job creation and/or product development

Port Volume Increase Credit

  • Income tax credit to entities using state port facilities that increase base year port cargo volume
  • Up to $8 million in tax credits per year

Disclaimer: Incentives are offered through the counties and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. While NESA can work with the aforementioned entities to help develop an attractive incentives package for your company, it does not grant incentives nor can it make any promises that incentives will be granted by state or local governments. The information contained herein is current to the best of our knowledge; however, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions that may exists. For a list of incentives specific to your project, please make us aware of your project parameters and we will work with the counties and the South Carolina Department of Commerce to develop a comprehensive list of statutory and discretionary incentives that may be available to your company.

A Top Notch Quality of Life

Located in beautiful South Carolina, the NESA Region offers something for everyone.  You can spend a day at the beach, play a round of golf, cheer at one of the professional or collegiate sporting events, dine in one of our many restaurants, or visit a museum or theme park.  Whatever your preference, the NESA Region won't disappoint.

  • A diverse landscape with access to beaches, rivers, mountains and parks
  • A temperate climate
  • Both rural and suburban areas
  • Cultural events