South Carolina's manufacturing industries have historically depended on the state's agricultural products as well as on water power. For example, the huge textile and clothing industries, centered in the Piedmont, are based on that region's cotton crop; lumbering and related enterprises (such as the manufacture of pulp and paper) rely on the c.12.5 million acres (5 million hectares) of forestland that cover the state—the longleaf and loblolly pine are prevalent. Other leading manufactures are chemicals, machinery, and automobiles. South Carolina's mineral resources have been of minor importance in the state's economy; except for some gold, most are nonmetallic—cement, stone, clays, and sand and gravel.
In agriculture, tobacco and soybeans now rival cotton as South Carolina's chief crops. Broiler chickens and cattle are economically important, and peanuts, pecans, sweet potatoes, and peaches are grown in abundance. Fishing is a major commercial enterprise; the chief catches are blue crabs and shrimp. Military bases and nuclear facilities are important to the economy, and the tourist industry today ranks as the state's chief source of income.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.