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Strong population growth fuels Greenville’s job recovery

As cities across the sunbelt continue massive growth, Greenville’s diverse economy has made it one of the nation’s fastest growing boutique cities and often pointed to as an emerging market to watch. Since 2016, over 84,000 people have relocated to Greenville-Spartanburg, 7% of the market’s total population. Over the last decade, Greenville has averaged an annual population growth of 1.19% far exceeding the national average annual growth of 0.73% during that same time. Over the last three years, growth has accelerated to 1.34% annually outpacing the growth of South Carolina as a whole.

Figure 1: Greenville’s Annual Population Growth Has Far Outpaced The U.S. 
Source: Oxford Economics

During the months of March and April last year, the COVID-19 pandemic had caused Greenville’s employment to drop by almost 58,000, however almost 80% of those jobs has returned, since. A city that was once known as the textile capital of the world, now attracts educated and skilled talent for its strong automotive, technology, and manufacturing sectors. Distribution, logistics, and transportation companies flocking to the region have turned Greenville into a top-tier industrial hub. Thanks to top-notch local heath systems and strong schools, the healthcare and education industries have almost fully recovered their employment. With vaccines becoming readily available to the public and employees returning to the workplace, the Greenville-Spartanburg region will continue to rank high for future investment activity, occupiers, and residents in the Southeast.

Figure 2: Greenville’s Overall Employment Forecast

Source: CBRE Econometric Advisors, BLS

Economic activity in the U.S. and abroad completely normalizes during the summer.
60% of the population is vaccinated by mid-year, which helps usher in a sturdy recovery in the leisure and hospitality sector. The labor market recovers in 2022.
COVID-19 flare-ups continue and many small services firms close.
Vaccines prove ineffective against new COVID-19 variants. All sectors of the economy materially contract.


Elizabeth Ryan
Research Analyst
Southeast Research
+1 843 720 3559

Toby Jorgensen
Associate Director
Thought Leadership Research 
+1 404 504 7926
CBRE Research

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