Wal-Mart expanding in SC, bringing 4,000 jobs to state

Wednesday's announcement at the farmers market / Emily Pace

WEST COLUMBIA (WACH) -- South Carolina is getting a major economic boost from a national superstore.

Governor Nikki Haley announced Wednesday afternoon that Wal-Mart is expanding to add thousands of jobs to the state's economy. The expansion will involve opening new stores and relocating others over the next five years and purchasing produce from local farmers.

At a press conference at the State Farmers Market in West Columbia Haley said the expansion will drop $400 million in capital investment and 4,000 jobs. Three hundred of those jobs will be management positions. The average wage for all employees is around $12 an hour. That would be around a $25,000 yearly salary for full-time workers before taxes.

Two stores will open as early as mid-2012 outside of the Midlands.

We believe South Carolina is a great investment, Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon said. We will open dozens of new stores in communities across the state " creating jobs, driving economic growth and offering South Carolinians the broadest assortment of goods at our everyday low prices. These jobs we offer will be good jobs with competitive wages and benefits and opportunities to build a career.

Haley calls this announcement a win for the state.

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"This is a strong company that already employs almost 28,000 people in our state," Haley said. "To have them continue to invest in South Carolina and create more than 4,000 additional jobs is something we're going to celebrate."

Haley adds negotiations continue with Amazon after the company says it is bailing on South Carolina after lawmakers decided not to give a tax break on a planned Lexington County distribution center. The average wage for the estimated 1,200 jobs Amazon was set to bring would have been around $30,000 a year.

State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) tweeted Wednesday afternoon in response to the announcement the state would be even better off with both Amazon and Wal-Mart.

"Someone should ask the Gov., 4k jobs is nice but isn't 7k+ better?" Sellers said.

The unemployment rate for March in South Carolina was 9.9 percent. April's numbers have not yet been released.

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