COLUMBIA - Gov. Nikki Haley says seven businesses are bringing a combined 300 jobs to five rural South Carolina counties.
Haley told The Associated Press she would announce the companies' $38 million total investment Thursday night at a meeting of the Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance. It advocates for a rural region in the state's southern corner consisting of Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.
"It's huge for the rural parts of our state but also a win for 'team South Carolina' and that's another reason to celebrate," Haley said before speaking at the meeting held at the University of South Carolina's Allendale campus. "South Carolina is on the move."
Her announcement includes 69 jobs already filled at Augusta Fiberglass Coating's expansion into Bamberg County, Haley's home county.
Of the seven companies, Dixie Poly-Drum Corp. is hiring the most people, at 84. It plans to spend $1.1 million rebuilding its Hampton County facility destroyed by fire six months ago.
The largest investment is being made by Kronotex, which makes laminate flooring. It plans to spend $29.5 million on its expansion in Barnwell County, creating 28 jobs.
Haley's office says no state incentives have yet been approved for the companies. Several have applied.
The region includes counties posting some of the state's worst unemployment rates: Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell rank second- through fourth-highest, in that order, at 9.2 percent, 8.3 percent and 8.1 percent. The statewide jobless rate in April was 5.3 percent.
Other companies in the joint announcement:
Green Link Wood Industries, which makes wood veneer, plans to create 44 jobs and spend $1.2 million in Olar, also in Bamberg County.
Palmetto Aero, which makes components for the aerospace industry, is building a hangar and buying two others at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro. The $2.5 million investment in Colleton County is expected to create 44 jobs.
KBRS, which makes custom shower components, plans to create 30 jobs and spend $2.6 million in Hardeeville, located in Jasper County.
Progressive Packaging, based in Simpsonville, is spending $500,000 to open a new distribution center in Hampton County, creating five jobs.