GIS Analysis Reveals Fairfield County Job Growth More Substantial than Previously Reported

Posted | by Chris Finn |

Last Friday I released the following analysis of local county-level labor data on LinkedIn:

"Which of South Carolina's 46 counties had the greatest percent change in employment from June 2014 to June 2015? Fairfield County at 12%."

However, within the context of population was this growth as significant, or maybe even misleading? Did the public sector skew this data greatly? What was the county's job growth compared to the rest of the United States? We decided to deepen the analysis by calculating job growth for every 1,000 residents for all counties, isolating only private sector employment.

Incorporating employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and demographic data from the US Census into our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) platform, we made some design alterations.

First we decided to only look at the Contiguous United States and then only counties with at least 15,000 residents in order to make the universe of counties as comparable as possible to Fairfield County and it's estimated 23,387 residents. This reduced the data set from over 3,200 counties down to roughly 2,100.  Also, as mentioned we only looked at job growth in private sector employment.

Once these changes were incorporated, our GIS software calculated per capita job growth for all of the 2,100 counties and then the rate per 1,000 residents. At this point we discovered the magnitude of Fairfield County's job growth not only held up, but it actually improved.

From June 2014 - June 2015 (most recent county-level data available) the county added 1,192 private sector jobs or 51 private-sector jobs for every 1,000 residents. Out of roughly 2,100 counties in the contiguous United States with at least 15,000 residents...this rate is the 3rd highest!

By comparison, here is the data for 5 well-known US counties:

Job Growth Data Sample Set

The results can be viewed in the map below. If you have any further questions about this data or the analysis, please do not hesitate to contact me.

US Job Growth Map Per 1,000 Residents

To learn more about Fairfield County, please review South Carolina I-77 Alliance's Fairfield County brochure.