Opportunity Scorecard: South Carolina
Building off our Opportunity Index model, we looked at cost of living and wages paid across every region in the state to see how much opportunity there was for workers. Jobs fall into four categories: hardship jobs, living-wage jobs, middle-class jobs, and professional jobs.1 We found that, like the broader United States, there is a dearth of middle class jobs in South Carolina.
Statewide, only 39% of jobs support a middle class life or better and on average, individuals need $38,422 to get to a middle class life. And while five out of ten metropolitan areas saw net increases in the number of business establishments and six out of ten had an increase in net jobs between 2005 and 2015, all four rural areas lost businesses and jobs over the same time period. The map above shows the makeup of jobs in every region in the state. For example, the Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach regions have fewer jobs that support a middle class life due to the higher cost of living. Other metro areas like Columbia, Greenville, and Spartanburg perform better, and yet less than half the jobs in those areas provide a middle class life.
For more information on Third Way’s Opportunity Index and job categories, please visit: https://www.thirdway.org/report/the-opportunity-index-ranking-opportunity-in-metropolitan-america. Hardship job: cannot support a single childless adult living by himself.
Living wage job: supports a single childless adult living in a two bedroom unit with another adult. This salary would cover health insurance, food, and basic necessities but no money for entertainment, vacation, savings, or retirement.
Middle class job: pays enough to support half the expenses for a family of four living a middle class life. This includes a three bedroom unit, food, health insurance, basic necessities and money for entertainment, vacation, savings, retirement, and childcare.
Professional class job: pays enough to support 75% of the expenses for a family living a comfortable middle class life. This includes a four bedroom unit and more money for food, entertainment, vacation, savings, and retirement.