South Carolina is home to more tire workers than you’d think

South Carolina is home to more tire workers than you’d think

By Kathryn Duggan

South Carolina native Darius Rucker may not have realized it when he covered the song Wagon Wheel, but his home state has kept the wheels of industry rolling, gaining a national reputation for employing tire builders.

Tire building, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as operating machinery to build tires, is the “most unique” job in South Carolina, which is home to 11.8 times more tire builders than expected, based on national averages, according to a report by The PEW Charitable Trusts released Monday.

The Pew report arrived at its findings by comparing the number of people in a given occupation per capita to the national average.

South Carolina employs more people who make tires than any other state, which translates to 2,860 of the 17,570 tire builders nationwide, according to a 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The number of jobs in the tire business will continue to grow when a new tire manufacturing plant is built in Chester County. According to a press release from Giti Tire, the plant is expected to create 1,700 jobs in the next 10 years.

Greenville serves as a tire-building hub for South Carolina, with a number of tire manufacturing companies. Greenville is also home to the world’s first manufacturing plant to build airless radial tires, which don’t go flat, which Michelin opened in November 2014.

Many tires built in South Carolina can be found beyond the state’s roads.

South Carolina ranked No. 1 in the United States in tire exports for the fourth consecutive year, representing roughly 30 percent of tires exported from the United States according to a press release from the S.C. Department of Commerce.

So next time Wagon Wheel comes on the radio, remember that when it comes to tires, South Carolina is leaving the rest of the country in the dust.

Other unexpected jobs …
… based on the national average

  • Washington, D.C., had 120.5 times more political scientists (3,370) than would be expected.
  • Indiana had 6.4 times more boilermakers (2,190).
  • Florida had 4.9 times more athletes and sports competitors (3,860).
  • Colorado had 9.7 times more atmospheric and space scientists (1,800).
  • Texas had 6.8 times more petroleum engineers (19,660).
  • Missouri had 3.7 times more psychiatric technicians (4,930).
  • Hawaii had 12.8 times more dancers (670).
  • Oregon had 40.2 times more logging workers (1,390).
  • Nevada had 32 times more gaming supervisors (6,990).
  • Alaska had 58.2 times more mining machine operators (390).
  • New York had 6.3 times more fashion designers (7,180).

For more states and their special jobs, check out the PEW graphic.