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York County led the nation in job growth last fall. The pay’s pretty good too.

Potential Waterford spec building sale 'a shot in the arm' for Rock Hill

In this Feb. 7, 2017 file video, Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation announced that it has received a letter of intent for the second speculative building at Waterford Business Park. The sales price is currently listed at $2.175 million. Th
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In this Feb. 7, 2017 file video, Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation announced that it has received a letter of intent for the second speculative building at Waterford Business Park. The sales price is currently listed at $2.175 million. Th

Annual job growth for York County more than tripled the national average last fall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

York County had the highest percentage increase of the country’s 344 largest counties in last year’s third quarter. The national job growth rate is 1.7 percent.

Employment rose 6 percent in York County from September 2015 to September 2016, according to an employment and wage report put out each quarter by the Bureau.

Workers and companies are relocating to the Upstate to take advantage of low property taxes, strong school systems and an educated workforce, according to Rob Youngblood, president of the York County Chamber of Commerce.

1,408 York County’s largest growth came in the professional and business services sector. The county saw 1,408 new jobs come to the area in that sector.

“The quality of life here is really good,” Youngblood said. “One of our primary efforts right now is trying to get the people with jobs in Charlotte, to save them the drive time and hassle to get to work, to come down here. That effort is starting to pay off.”

York County’s employment posted a whopping 15 percent growth, or 1,408 jobs, in the professional and business services sector, according to the report.

Local experts have touted York County’s strength as an adaptive workforce environment, which they say is on the right track to raise the next generation of coders, manufacturers and high-technology workers.

Ron Roveri, director of Career and Technology Education with the S.C. Department of Education, said late last year that York County is training its students well through apprenticeships, internships and venues like the Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center.

“There’s a term that fits perfectly,” said Roveri. “‘Career-ready.’ York County gets it. They understand how critical it is to identify the components and get graduates who know what to do.”

York County’s paychecks also grew in last year’s third quarter. The county’s wage growth of 8.2 percent outpaced the national rate of 5.4 percent. York County’s average weekly wages now stand at $830, the 23rd-highest of the nation’s 344 largest counties.

Youngblood cited the Pennies for Progress road improvement system as another reason more workers are considering York County.

“All of the municipalities have worked to make their respective communities great places to live,” said Youngblood. “I think everyone, ideally, wants to live and work in the same place. Our vision is to have it be the best in the Carolinas to live, work and do business.”

For comparison, Charleston County doubled the national average with a 3.7 percent job growth rate, according to the Bureau.

Rock Hill economic development officials have been hard at work marketing the city as a technology-first and business-friendly scene.

A 2015 Winthrop University study found that almost 65 percent of workers who commute outside of Rock Hill/York County for their work would be willing to take a job in Rock Hill for the same salary.

Officials recently rolled out a jobs board website and a fresh marketing campaign complete with billboards up and down Interstate 77.

The Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. has poured effort into building, developing and promoting speculative buildings in the city. Members generally agree that the spec buildings are effective at recruiting businesses away from Charlotte.

Officials recently received a letter of intent from an anonymous company to buy a spec building at Waterford Business Park.

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham

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