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Sustainability and Jobs in Columbia SC

Updated on August 1, 2014


Greyhound Station, opened in 1939
Greyhound Station, opened in 1939 | Source

Employment Increasing 2009-2016

The Columbia Metro Area boasts a population over 615,000 people in 2014 and is a large center of business in the Midlands of South Carolina.

Unemployment decreased somewhat in the 1st Qtr of 2009, with 331 more people employed in February and almost 2,000 more people employed in March '09 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). The employed numbers continued to rise through 2013 and into January 2014.

Foreign migration brought an additional 770 people into the Columbia area in the 12 months of 2008, bringing with it some additional job seekers and new businesses that have flourished fromo 2009 - 2014.

Industries already growing and forecast by the federal and state governments to expand in the Columbia area through 2016 include:

  1. Healthcare & Social Assistance by the most jobs and 31+% increase.
  2. Retail Sales by 32%
  3. Accommodations/Food Services - 32% [large Tourism and Travel sector]
  4. Waste Management & Recycling; Administration- about 28% - South Carolina has become the Number One recycler of food/beverage related plastic bottles.
  5. Finance & Insurance - 18%

Sustainability, Green Jobs, and Recession Survival

The newspaper, The State, is headquartered in Columbia and can be read online as well as home delivered. The paper contains job listings, news of new industries and employers in the Midlands regions - including green and sustainable work and alternative energy - as well as around the state of South Carolina, and offers a section called "Living with Less." This section contains many articles about reducing expenses and planning for the future, how to survive a layoff, and other important information. Readers can access the paper at

In addition to The State job listings, South Carolina Electric & Gas company is being considered as one of 4 companies to receive a portion of $18.5 Billion to construct two additional new nuclear reactors at Columbia's nearby V.C. Summer Power Plant.

Columbia Close-Up

A markerColumbia SC -
Columbia, SC, USA
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A Planned City Succeeds

To become the capital of South Carolina after the Revolutionary War, Columbia was planned specifically by city administrators to be a capital and founded in 1789. Their initial hard work paid off.

Being an older city and on the East Coast, Columbia developed a rich culture, extensive parks and recreation, a high quality school system, and several river sports on the waterfronts of two rivers. Many travelers visit Columbia for canoeing and kayaking as well as a vibrant theater scene.

Columbia is an award winning city with many landmarks on the National Historic Register. The city is said to have a creative economy that is boosted by the Downtown associations that develop it. Many people move their families into Columbia, including overseas immigrants mentioned earlier. Columbia also has been rated as a very good city for retirement.

Columbia Overview

Columbia in South Carolina Recovery Since 2009

The governor of South Carolina accepted an ARRA Stimulus Package of $2.8 Billion.

Althougth $860 MIllion went to Medicare, and $566 went to K-12 Education, over $1 Billion was allocated to South Carolina Unemployment Benefits and Infrastructure/Transportation, the second of which will create related jobs as highways, bridges, and sidewalks are reconstructed.

A total of $1,424,100 went directly to Columbia for Energy Efficiency projects that willl create more jobs. The City of Columbia also received $1 million for "assessment coalition" in order to provide Stimulus for the city.

Finlay Park Fountain
Finlay Park Fountain | Source

Downtown Development

Healthcare Systems and Jobs

Columbia offers current and future opportunities in Registered Nursing and other aspects of healthcare.

  • Columbia's Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals is operated by the larger nonprofit Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine (CSA) Health System.
  • Palmetto Health, mentioned above as the Largest Employer in Columbia. It is also a nonprofit organization the operates Palmetto Health Richland Hospital, Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital and the Palmetto Health Heart Hospital.
  • William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Health Center is a large VA medical complex, with the University of South Carolina Medical School co-locating on grounds.

In the first graph below, showing the employment job listing trend for Registered Nurse (RN) in Columbia South Carolina for the last decade, we see a tremendous increase in the percent of job listings for Registered Nurses from January 2009 - February 2009, with the trend still continuing upward.

Both official government forecasts and number of jobs listed reflect that Registered Nurses (RN) will be in high demand in Columbia and the Midlands Region of the state through 2014. In addition, it is a general workforce development consensus that nursing and other healthcare services occupations will continue in high demand status through 2020. Further, as the aging Boomer Generation is joined by the Aging Xs and Ys, nursing and nurses' aide occupations, as well as other practioners' occupations will remain in high demand for 100 years.

Largest Employers in the Columbia Metro Area

  1. Palmetto Health - Also lists the most job openings.
  2. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of SC
  3. Richland School District #1
  4. SCE&G
  5. UPS
  6. Wachovia Bank.
  7. Richland School District #2
  8. Branch Banking and Trust
  9. School District 5 of Lexington & Richland Counties
  10. Santee Cooper

Employers That List the Most Jobs

  1. Palmetto Health
  2. Lexington Medical Center
  3. AppleOne
  4. Voyage Healthcare
  5. Robert Half Management Solutions
  6. Blockbuster
  7. Cybercoders
  8. StaffPoint Medical Search
  9. Veterans Health
  10. Critical Connection

Top Job Listings Among an Average 50,000 Job Openings 2012 - 2014

  1. Hospitalist Physicians
  2. Emergency Medicine Physicians
  3. Internal Medicine Physicians
  4. Salespeople
  5. Store Managers
  6. Occupational Therapists
  7. Assistant Managers
  8. Business Analysts
  9. Family Practice Physicians
  10. Truck Drivers
  11. Telemarketers for Health Insurance
  12. Registered Nurses (RNs) and Nurse Practitioners
  13. Patient Care Technicians
  14. Engineers in Oil & Gas
  15. Industrial and Manufacturing Techs

Top 10 Jobs Expected through 2016

Job Title and Percentage Increase in Jobs from 2004 - 2014:

  1. Retail Salespersons 29% - OJT (on the job training)
  2. Registered Nurses (RNs) 32% - requires an Associate's degree.
  3. Customer Service Representatives 29% - OJT
  4. General/Operations Managers 23% - Bachelor's degree
  5. Janitors/Cleaners (industrial) 22% - OJT
  6. Cashiers 12% - OJT
  7. Waitstaff 20% - OJT
  8. General Office Clerksl 11% - OJT
  9. Manual Laborers and Hand Freight & Stock Movers 15% - OJT
  10. Home Health Aides (HHAs) 52% - OJT, although Certificate training is available.

Higher Education

In addition, the five Columbia area K-12 school systems contain a number of faith based schools, including Luteran, Catholic, Baptist and non-denominational Christian.

Columbia Outdoors

Sports in Columbia

Spanish Moss
Spanish Moss | Source

Comments & Job Leads

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for all the additional information! Too bad about the Greyhound station, isn't it? Many stations are no longer open overnight and in Ohio, many of the routes were thinned out or eliminated. I'll add those additional schools and hospitals.

    • madscientist12 profile image

      Dani Alicia 3 years ago from Paterson, NJ

      Great article. I actually live in Columbia right now. Everything you've written is definitely true. There are actually more institutions of higher learning in Columbia, SC. There is University of Phoenix, ECPI, ITT Tech, as well as a number of cosmetology schools. The city is packed full of students! There are also more hospitals/healthcare systems than listed as well, but you have named the main ones. And that is a gorgeous photo of the old greyhound station! It doesn't look like that anymore and there are so many homeless people and druggies that hang around there now--not very nice :-( Voted up!

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Great post..nice