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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.

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