Future Cities

Emerging Industrial Markets: Charleston, South Carolina

October 19, 2022

Ship yard
The Port of Charleston is an economic engine driving both the logistics supply chain and modern manufacturing facility growth in the Southeast region. West Coast labor and congestion challenges have caused a major shift, with more cargo redirected to the East Coast. The deepening of Charleston Harbor to 52 feet improves cargo vessel capacity, making it the deepest port in the Southeast. This status as a “first-in/last-out” port, combined with booming post-COVID population growth, makes Charleston a logical choice for industrial investors and occupiers.
Robert BarrineauCBRE Senior Vice President


More than 2.4 million people live within 100 miles of Charleston, with a projected growth rate of 1.4% over the next five years. The important 18-to-34 age group accounts for 20.2% of the total population. Within 250 miles, occupiers can reach 21.2 million consumers.

Figure 1: Charleston, SC Population Analysis

Source: CBRE Location Intelligence

The Charleston metro area has a warehouse/distribution labor force of 13,475, which is forecast to grow by 9% over the next decade, according to CBRE Labor Analytics. The average hourly wage for a non-supervisory warehouse worker is $16.09, which is 3.5% below the national average of $16.68; however, depending on varying industrial warehouse positions, reported average hourly pay can range between $14.50 and $17.85 per hour.

Figure 2: Charleston, SC Warehouse & Storage Labor Fundamentals

Source: CBRE Labor Analytics