GVLtoday City Guide Work Banner

The top industries and employers in the Upstate

Learn about the biggest industries and employers in the Greenville area with this guide to local business.

City of Greenville | Image from @vanzeppelinaerial

City of Greenville | Image from @vanzeppelinaerial

Table of Contents

More than 1.1 million people (and thousands of businesses) contribute to the Upstate’s economy. But have you ever wondered about Greenville’s heaviest hitters?

Consider this Greenville Business 101 — your guide our region’s six target industries and four major employers.

The key industries

There are six key industries that represent Greenville’s economy, based on data from the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC).

Advanced Materials

Greenville’s foundation in advanced manufacturing means there’s a focus on developing advanced materials and composites (read: polymers, metal alloys, and nano-materials). According to GADC, Greenville has “the workforce, infrastructure, research initiatives, and collaborative environment” to develop materials important for other industries.


With 120+ automotive organizations and 30,000+ employees, the automotive industry is the area’s predominant cluster with BMW and its suppliers across the Upstate.

Aviation and Aerospace

From Lockheed Martin choosing Greenville for final assembly of the F-16 Block 70 to Boeing’s final assembly facility for the 787 in Charleston (hey, CHStoday), SC is a leader in supporting the global aviation industry.


The pharmaceutical and medical device companies that call the Upstate home (think: Bausch & Lomb, Nutra Manufacturing, and International Vitamin Corporation), plus partnerships with Clemson University establish the Upstate as a foundation for Biosciences organizations.

Data Centers

According to GADC, Greenville offers a number of advantages for data center operators, from an ideal location with a low disaster risk to a highly-educated workforce.

Headquarters and Office

Greenville is home to 40+ Fortune 500 companies and 20+ headquartered operations, plus 240+ international companies. Greenville’s pro-business environment, quality workforce, and market accessibility make it marketable to companies across the world.

The major players

Now that we’ve established the major industries, we bet you’re curious for specific names. Whether you’re job hunting (or just “casually prospecting”), here are four major employers — all that employ 5,000-10,000 workers on average.


10,000+ employees | Automotive | Search jobs

While there are 11,000 jobs on site at Plant Spartanburg, BMW supports ~43,000 jobs across SC.

Prisma Health

10,000+ employees | Health services | Search jobs

Prisma Health is SC’s largest private, non-profit healthcare system.

Greenville County Schools

10,000+ employees | Public education | Search jobs

The Greenville County School District is the largest school district in SC and the 44th largest in the US.

Michelin North America

5,001-10,000 employees | Manufacturing, research, and development | Search jobs

Michelin is the top-selling tire brand worldwide that designs and distributes tires and services for customers.

This information is derived from the most recent data published by the Greenville Area Development Corporation + BMW.

Check out our other Guides
We’re highlighting the best parks that Greenville, SC has to offer — complete with Falls Park on the Reedy, Paris Mountain State Park, and Unity Park.
Check out these 20+ hiking trails catered to all skill levels in and around Greenville, State for outdoor adventures.
As Greenville continues to grow, we’re keeping an eye on upcoming developments and recently opened businesses.
Consider these our Hollywood signs.
We’re highlighting the best kid-friendly activities that Greenville, SC has to offer — complete with art classes, animal encounters, and outdoor fun.
To help make your entire process at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from parking to details on the airport’s nonstop flights.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or the next Tiger Woods, these 20 golf courses in Greenville are sure to make for a good round.
Your home, your favorite coffee shop, your daily commute aren’t just written in the skyline — they may be written in the stars.
Our comprehensive guide to some of the best local coffee shops in Greenville, SC will help you find the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to knock out some work or need to satisfy a craving for pastries, GVLtoday has you covered.
Explore Greenville through its history, food, drink, and art on these tours.
Banner Ad Example
Good news for Greenville.
Get the best local news & events sent to your inbox each morning, for free.