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The primary mission of the SmartState® Program is to elevate the state’s knowledge economy by generating high-skilled, high-wage jobs in South Carolina.

The SmartState® Program’s established research centers help
elevate the state’s knowledge economy by creating public-
private partnerships, supporting start-up firms, and helping
to retain highly skilled workers. Each of these efforts results
in the creation of jobs that are among the highest paid in
South Carolina.
Following the 2008 recession, geographic regions with the
highest rates of economic growth have typically had higher
shares of their workforce employed in the knowledge
economy. The skills associated with these jobs often include
more advanced training in the fields of mathematics
and science, complex problem solving, and creative and
technological innovation. The commercialization of new
technologies leads to economic growth and significant
knowledge spillover effects.
As of 2017, the SmartState® Program is responsible for
helping to create and support approximately 13,923 jobs in
South Carolina, which are associated with $2.8 billion in
economic activity and $755 million in labor income for South
Carolinians that would not exist otherwise. Approximately
5,052 of these positions are knowledge economy jobs created
directly through the SmartState® Program, with the 8,871
arising from additional spending activity generated through
the economic multiplier effect.
The specific employment multiplier associated with these
estimates is 2.5—for every ten knowledge economy jobs
created through the SmartState® Program, an additional 15
jobs are created elsewhere in South Carolina. This multiplier
effect is larger than the state average. Each new job created
through the SmartState® Program increased total South
Carolina employment by more than it would if that job had
been created in another industry of comparable size.
The average annual salary associated with a SmartState job is
$74,815, roughly 82 percent higher than the average annual
salary among all jobs in South Carolina. When examining the
salaries of all jobs associated with the SmartState® Program,
including those created through the economic multiplier
effect, the average annual salary is estimated at $53,610. This
dollar amount is approximately 34 percent higher than the
average annual salary among all South Carolina jobs.


DR. JOSEPH VON NESSEN Research Economist Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina