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Economic development


State capitol at Columbia
State capitol at Columbia

During World War II (1939-1945) and in the postwar decades, the pace of economic change was greatly accelerated in South Carolina. Farming became increasingly diversified as considerable cotton land was taken out of cultivation and returned to pasture or was planted in other crops. Tobacco cultivation was greatly expanded in the Pee Dee, and in 1955 tobacco for the first time surpassed cotton as the state’s leading cash crop. There was a vast increase in soybean cultivation and in the production of peaches and livestock, particularly cattle.

In addition to becoming more diversified, farming also became mechanized. Increasing mechanization was largely responsible for the decline in the relative importance of farming as a source of employment. By 1980 only about 4 percent of all jobs in South Carolina were on farms, as compared with about 40 percent in 1940.

At the same time industrial employment increased rapidly and, in the mid-1950s, surpassed farm employment as the state government made a concentrated effort to attract industry to South Carolina. The textile industry expanded and diversified, with the largest gains in the manufacture of synthetic yarns, such as Orlon, rayon, fiberglass, and woven plastics. There were large gains in newer industries, such as apparel, chemicals, electrical machinery, and fabricated metals. Many farmers moved to towns and cities to take industrial jobs or remained on their farms and commuted into the cities. Many blacks continued to migrate to Northern cities. By 1970 blacks were only about 30 percent of the state’s population as compared with more than 50 percent in 1920. "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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