While the Great Recession of the late 2000s was felt all around the country, South Carolina was one state that suffered the most. Now, a few key industries are helping the state to rebound, and economists are championing its potential moving forward.
According to Bluffton Today, the unemployment rate in South Carolina is at an eight-year low, and state lawmakers will soon be faced with the welcomed task of allocating an extra $1.2 billion in projected tax revenue.
While the typical economic cycle is partially to thank for South Carolina’s tremendous rebound, local experts are praising the state for sticking to its roots and using a few intrinsic core advantages to outlast the recession.
Doug Woodward and Joseph Von Nessen, economists at the University of South Carolina, expect the state’s economy to grow by an estimated 3% in 2016. They say that South Carolina’s steadfast investment in manufacturing and construction was a key factor in the economy’s recent improvement.
“We didn’t turn our back on our heritage, which is in industry and manufacturing. If anything, that was a smart strategy relative to North Carolina,” Woodward said.
Real estate is also a huge boon for South Carolina’s economy, and homes throughout the state are some of the most sought-after in the nation. U.S. Census estimates indicate that more than 200,000 have moved to South Carolina since 2010, and the state population is approaching 5 million.
According to consumer website WalletHub, South Carolina boasts the fifth-lowest property taxes in the country. While financial advantages do appeal to potential home buyers, the nationwide attraction to local real estate can be largely attributed to the warm weather and vibrant communities that South Carolina is known for.
Woodward and Von Nessen also noted that an investment in tourism played a key role in drawing residents of other states to South Carolina, which further aided the economy. When people experience everything the state has to offer, they often decide to move there permanently.
“People visit, and they keep it in mind. They want to come back here. They see a job opportunity, whether it is in Charleston or the Upstate, or they see a chance to retire. Tourism is a great asset,” Woodward said.
With a stronger emphasis on core industries and a soaring real estate market, it seems as if South Carolina is outpacing other states in the race to finally escape the most recent Great Recession.