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Associated Press

SUMTER, SC (AP) — Gov. Nikki Haley is celebrating one of the crown jewels of her push to bring jobs to South Carolina as she helped break ground at a ceremony for the new Continental tire plant in Sumter County.

Work has already begun clearing the site for the plant which officials for the German tire maker say will employ 1,600 workers by 2021, so people attending Wednesday’s ceremony had to watch their step.

Haley says the plant shows how dedicated she is to bringing jobs to South Carolina. The state’s unemployment rate is now at 9.3 percent. It was 10.5 percent when she took office in January 2011.

South Carolina beat out Louisiana and a site near the Brunswick-Columbus County line for the $500 million plant. Continental Tire says the plant should make its first tire in 2014.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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