Why do you think all those people are out of work here in South Carolina?

I didn’t have much to say about South Carolina’s 11.1 percent unemployment rate, beyond these two thoughts: 1) I really hope this isn’t a double-dip recession (and if we actually got out of the first one, which I can’t tell; can you?), and 2) boyohboy am I sick of this stuff.

The disorienting thing for me about all this is that I can’t tell what’s happening. Outside of the newspaper business, I have trouble telling how things are going. I understood the economics of that, so I could tell as we went along: I can see things are bad. OK, now they’re worse. Now they’re WAY worse. Uh-oh, the PACE of getting worse just accelerated, dramatically. Whoa! The bottom just dropped out!

Not so much a roller-coaster ride as a fall down a well.

But out here in the world, where I’m immersed in the thing I was held away from, as a matter of policy — the thing called business — I’m disoriented, and have trouble telling what’s going on. Because it’s going on all around me, above me and below me and inside of me. It’s like… I read once that each man’s experience was totally different on Omaha Beach in the early hours, trapped on a limited scrap of sand that was all pre-sighted by the Germans, as death of various kinds rained down. You would experience one battle, and a guy 15 feet from you would experience something dramatically different.

This is like that, in the business world. Since I wasn’t supposed to touch business in the newspaper world, I could see it unfolding in front of me — like watching it on a screen. Now, I’m in it, and it’s much harder to see the real picture.

So some days I think things are going well, and the economy as a whole is picking up (based on what I see at ADCO and through the lenses of our various clients), and other days… not well at all. And it’s hard to make out the trend, the pattern.

Is it that way for you? Whether it is or not, I can tell that the unemployment rate climbing further is not one of the good signs. Not for any of us.

So that’s what I have to say about it. Someone writing in Salon decided to dig into the numbers, and this is what he had to say:

But a look inside the numbers, at the five worst and five best states, is unhappily revealing. The states with the five highest unemployment rates are Nevada (13.4 percent), California (12.1 percent), Michigan (11.2 percent), South Carolina (11.1 percent) and Florida (10.7 percent.) Nevada, California, Michigan and South Carolina all registered unemployment increases in August, compared to July. Florida held even.

The states with the lowest unemployment rates are North Dakota (3.5 percent), Nebraska (4.2 percent), South Dakota (4.7 percent), New Hampshire (5.3 percent) and Oklahoma (5.6 percent.)…

What does the geographical distribution of the hardest hit areas tell us? Again, not a whole lot that’s new. California, Florida and Nevada were among the three states hit hardest by the housing collapse, with Nevada getting the extra negative bonus of depressed Las Vegas tourism. Michigan, battered by globalization and the woes of the auto industry, has long been near the top of the unemployment charts. (Although the state had been improving quickly until about four months ago, when unemployment started rising again.) South Carolina’s high unemployment rate has been something of a mystery for years. Perhaps the most that can be said is that as a relatively low-tax state dominated by some of the most conservative Republican politicians in the country, it is certainly no advertisement for conservative orthodoxy, at least as far as boosting employment goes.

Of course, that’s about what you’d expect to read in Salon. Next time I see Salon saying anything positive about Republicans, it will be my first time.

They do have a point, though. We have pursued a certain course in South Carolina, in rather dramatic contrast to neighboring states such as Georgia and North Carolina, which decided to build up the kind of infrastructure — especially human infrastructure — that has made their economies stronger than ours.

I’ve lived all over in my life. And in my adult life, I’ve worked — and closely observed politics — in three states (the other two being Tennessee and Kansas). And I’ve never seen any place in this country more afflicted by self-destructive ideology than my home state of South Carolina.

So, you’ve heard what I think, and what some guy writing for Salon thinks. What do you think?

7 thoughts on “Why do you think all those people are out of work here in South Carolina?

  1. Kimber Bell

    SC unemployment issue is a continuation of the failure to properly educate. Uneducated ppl, those without basic computer skills, high school diplomas or GEDs typically work in the service oriented jobs, food service etc. as even those jobs increase in their use of technology it is even more challenging to employ those individuals. The new college graduates run into the problem of finding jobs in their field many companies expect experience that they are not willing to pay a competitive wage for. Other companies simply are not hiring due to the economy and are cutting workers and wages. Those people who had good jobs that are older are finding themselves having to explore the option of retraining in order to position themselves to find a new career. If you can’t find a job and you choose to go to school many of the affordable schools don’t offer flexible schedules like those “for profit” institutions. There are many people in the class of “under-employed” and are working jobs that pay way less than they should be earning just because they need to make a living. Small businesses are closing and large companies are reluctant to come to the more rural areas in SC because most of the people living in these areas will need to be trained to perform job functions and companies don’t want to pay for things like that. They want to be given perks they have no real interest in helping the people or their community. I could go on ….and the unemployment system is “broken” it does very little to make those persons collecting employable.

  2. bud

    Of course, that’s about what you’d expect to read in Salon. Next time I see Salon saying anything positive about Republicans, it will be my first time.

    They do have a point, though.

    So why get so snippy about it? You’ve certainly lambasted others for being critical because they generally disagree with the sourse. Of course they have a point. In fact Salon doesn’t cater to this whole paradigm of trying to balance the left and right. They fully understand what a disaster the conservative movement is and they say say. Good for them.

    If all this business of being a right to work state was so successful for recruiting big companies then why do we have such high unemployment? It’s not all that complicated. Most jobs are created by small businesses. The small business environment is pretty hostile here with all the fawning over big companies. Plus we have a huge tourism industry that’s suffering as a result of the weak economy.

    In a broader sense we see the same thing in Texas. There is a state that has every advantage compared to other states. They have oil and plenty of other resources plus they mostly avoided the housing collapse. Yet their 8.5% unemployment rate ranks then only tied for 27th lowest unemployment rate in the nation. Some miracle.

  3. Ralph Hightower

    To hear SC Governot Nikki Haley explain the unemployment situation to us, it is because half of us are drug addicts, the other half of us are illiterate. That was her explanation at SRS, but apparently SRS doesn’t drug test until a hire decision is made.

    But if half of SC is on drugs, and the other half is illiterate, how many South Carolinians are drug users and illiterate? Come on Nikki, you’re accountant extraordinaire! You should be able to figure this out!

    Way to go Nikki, blame South Carolina’s unemployment on 100% of her citizens! What foreign business would locate in South Carolina when you have such a negative opinion of her citizens?

    Here are a few survival tips I’ve picked up: 1) If your employer starts losing clients, start looking; 2) If your employer is bought out, start looking; 3) If your employer gives you upside-down stock options instead of a raise, start looking.

  4. Nick Nielsen

    I think this is probably the state where that joke that has the redneck telling Jesus “Don’t touch me, I’m on disability.” originated.

    Nothing else explains the mindset.

  5. Doug Ross

    The unemployment rate is a function of the high school drop out rate. What kind of jobs can a dropout do?

    There once were manufacturing jobs in the state that could handle the illiterates. Those jobs are gone and aren’t coming back.

    And no matter how much government money you spend on education, it won’t fix the cultural issues that allow such a high dropout rate.

    They’re doomed.

  6. Doug Ross

    Here’s a solution – why doesn’t the government tell Merck to give up its patent on Gardasil so that a generic form can be created and distributed much more cheaply?

    You think Merck would go for that? I mean it would be in the best interest of the world to make these shots available for the lowest cost possible, right? It shouldn’t be about profits, right?

    It’s all about money. Merck pays off the doctors and politicians and the profits roll in.

  7. martin

    If I’m interpreting Doug correctly, the Great Recession simply doesn’t exist?
    Companies have not laid off workers or closed their doors?
    Wal-Mart sales are not really down/stagnant for the first time ever?
    Employers are really not saying they are not hiring because demand is down?
    The unemployment numbers are suddenly, all at one time picking up all of our drop outs and illiterates and that’s all the numbers are showing?
    Is it all like that season on Dallas years ago and everything since 2008 is just a dream?

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