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Moore School Study: Sonoco Contributes More Than $1 Billion to S.C. Economy
3/26/2013 11:04:57 AM


Global packaging giant Sonoco annually contributes more than $1 billion to South Carolina’s economy, creating nearly 9,300 jobs and generating more than $473 million in income for South Carolinians, according to a study released Tuesday (March 26) by the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business.


The study reveals that the 114-year-old Hartsville-based company is a major contributor to a rebirth of manufacturing in South Carolina that has taken place since 2009. Sonoco, which employs more than 1,700 employees statewide, supports an extensive supply chain network throughout the state.  


“Sonoco’s impact is wide-ranging and extends to every county in South Carolina,” said Moore School economist Joseph Von Nessen, who conducted the study.

The areas of South Carolina benefitting the most from Sonoco’s economic activities are the Upstate ($403 million), Pee Dee ($402 million) and Midlands ($195 million) regions. In addition, Sonoco’s $1 billion annual economic impact contributes nearly $35 million to state tax revenue each year.

Sonoco is also a major economic driver of Hartsville.

Sonoco, in many respects, is the heartbeat of Hartsville,” Von Nessen said. “Their impact is especially strong in the Florence-Darlington metropolitan area, where they comprise about 5 percent of total economic activity. This means that any change in Sonoco’s business activities will have a sizeable influence on the economic health of this region of South Carolina.”

Yet the presence of Sonoco’s corporate headquarters in South Carolina provides additional benefits to the state that go beyond that of most other manufacturing firms.

“Corporate headquarters attract and retain professionals with high levels of intellectual talent, which is one of the main driving forces of innovation and the commercialization of new ideas,” Von Nessen said. “These are crucial elements for ongoing economic growth and development. These professional positions also fuel an increased demand for worker training and higher education.”

Further, the presence of the corporate headquarters in South Carolina leads to higher wages for workers, particularly in the Pee Dee region. Von Nessen said the average wage of jobs created due to Sonoco’s activities is $1,229 per week, an amount that is more than $500 higher than that of the average South Carolina worker.

Sonoco Chairman and CEO Harris DeLoach said the study underscores the economic value that a global company headquartered in South Carolina can have on the state.


“Sonoco is South Carolina’s largest company, based on sales, and we have the largest global impact with operations in 34 countries selling products in more than 85 nations. This study proves that having a global corporation headquartered in the state provides tremendous economic impact. But equally important is the intangible value that I believe Sonoco brings to South Carolina’s reputation for business innovation and success,” DeLoach said. “We’re proud to call South Carolina our home.”


The Moore School study was funded by Sonoco. The complete report is available online.


Sonoco’s economic impact in South Carolina

Moore School study key findings

  • Sonoco’s total economic impact on South Carolina is approximately $1 billion, which includes the creation of nearly 9,300 jobs and the generation of more than $473 million in income for South Carolinians that would not exist otherwise.

  • The employment “multiplier effect” – the ratio of total employment supported throughout the state to direct employment created by a company’s or factory’s expenditures – is 1.9. This means that for every 10 jobs created by Sonoco, an additional nine jobs are created elsewhere in South Carolina’s economy.  The labor income multiplier of 2.3 implies that for every dollar generated directly in labor income through Sonoco, an additional $1.30 in labor income is generated elsewhere in South Carolina.

  • The average weekly earnings from jobs generated (directly or indirectly) by Sonoco is $980 per week. This is 35 percent above the overall state average of $724 per week and about 7 percent higher than the S.C. manufacturing industry average of $913 per week.

  • While Sonoco’s impact is felt statewide, the company is the primary economic driver in Florence and Darlington, S.C., supporting more than 5 percent of the region’s economic activity.

  • Sonoco’s $1 billion annual economic impact is estimated to generate an annual contribution of nearly $35 million to state tax revenue.

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