Business Insider sees S.C. economy as 5th worst in U.S.


The South Carolina Democratic Party is touting this story (“Nikki Haley claims South Carolina’s economy is booming, but don’t be fooled by her smoke and mirrors,” etc.), but I found it sort of interesting in its own right.

It’s a list from Business Insider ranking the respective states’ economies from worst to first. We rank 46th, or fifth worst. Here’s the reasoning they gave:

South Carolina’s largest private-sector industries are professional and business services, retail trade, and manufacturing. Here’s how South Carolina did on our variables:

  • South Carolina lost 4,600 nonfarm payroll jobs in July, the third-worst loss in the country.
  • Gross Domestic Product per capita was just $30,728, also the third-lowest.
  • The average annual wage was $39,800.

I was intrigued by the photos chosen to illustrate each state. We were represented by the sand sculpture above. I think I recognize it as being from just before a presidential debate down at the beach, either in 2008 or 2012.

My fave was the New Mexico one, which showed Jesse Pinkman being held prisoner down in the pit by the neoNazis. Which is appropriate, since N.M. ranked three positions below even us (Mississippi, of course, came in last). Maybe they’d be doing better if Mr. White were still alive and cooking, bringing in mad stacks, yo…


28 thoughts on “Business Insider sees S.C. economy as 5th worst in U.S.

  1. Barry

    No real surprise.

    Our roads and infrastructure isn’t good.

    Funding for large parts of our state are inadequate given their problems making it unattractive for many companies to want to locate to South Carolina.

    A lot of our best students leave South Carolina looking for better jobs (higher wages).etc.

  2. Doug Ross

    That’s what happens when you spend more time and money on educating four year olds instead of preparing high school students to enter the workforce.

    1. Silence

      Don’t worry, Doug. Pretty soon we’ll have federally funded universal pre-K, so that the students from disadvantaged homes don’t get even further behind. I guess if 13 years isn’t enough to learn ’em, maybe 15 or 16 years will do.

    2. Kathryn Braun Fenner

      Um, if you don’t get four year olds on a solid footing, you are going to have an even harder time preparing them to enter the workforce in high school

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Well, actually… I must confess I sometimes wonder what can be done to pull disadvantaged kids up.

        4K is great. I guess 3K does the same thing earlier. But…

        Seems like I’m always being told that your brain’s ability to learn — in terms of the actual physical connections — is pretty much set by age 3. So if you were ignored, not fed nourishing food, plopped in front of a TV as your babysitter, you just aren’t going to have the ABILITY to learn, physically, that a kid who was read to from the womb will have. Ever.

        In other words, the disadvantaged kid might do better in 1st grade than he or she would have otherwise, for having had 4K. But that kid won’t get the benefit from 4K that the “Baby Einstein” kid will.

        Nobody is going to go for the idea of taking kids away from inattentive, poor, distracted parents from birth, so I don’t know what the solution is. If there is one.

        That’s assuming the theory about the 0-3 period is correct…

        1. Doug Ross

          The best education solution would be to educate young women not to have children they can’t provide for and attend to.

          1. Doug Ross

            Yeah and do they have the same demographics there? No poor children? Nobody on the dole? It’s easy to cherry pick the features you like in other countries.

          2. Silence

            If you can’t support your child and properly care for it, let’s make it a ward of the state. If you get your sh*t together, you can have it back. Until then, no contact with it while it lives in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage.

            It’s a hard knock life.

  3. Bryan Caskey

    Interestingly, the same source ranked South Carolina ranked near the top (#8 specifically) in how the economy has changed over the last few years.

    “In recent months, South Carolina has begun booming its way out from the shadow of the Great Recession. Here’s how the Palmetto State is doing based on our metrics:

    South Carolina had the largest drop in its unemployment rate among the states, going from 7.8% in June 2013 to only 5.3% in June 2014 — a drop that puts South Carolina’s rate under the national average.
    Accordingly, South Carolina also had strong payroll jobs growth, adding 42,500 jobs between June 2013 and June 2014, a 2.2% increase. South Carolina’s auto sales have also grown, with a 9.7% uptick in per-dealer sales from 2012 to 2013.”

    So apparently, our economy is growing, but it’s not a big player compared to other states. Eh, seems pretty common sense. There’s no doubt that there are much bigger state economies than SC.

    In the first, where SC ranked near the bottom, I’m not sure using average annual wage is such a good measure of anything. For instance, New York ranked at #3, in part because it had had the highest average annual wages in the nation at $63,085. Ok, but NY is probably also the state with one of the highest costs of living in the country. $63k in NY isn’t the same thing as $63k in SC. I’m not sure they’re adjusting for that factor.

    Also, using June – July rate change seems odd. Why not just use the rate, instead of the change?

    It’s fun to look at lists, but I’m not sure I would look at this like the gospel.

    1. Doug Ross

      Good point, Bryan. Here’s a map from last month that shows the relative value of $100 in each state.

      South Carolina gets $110 value for every $100 while New York gets $86. My brain is too slow to figure out the percentage but it looks like New York is about 25% more expensive. This is also why the “our teacher salaries are only X% of the national average” claims are bogus. Or when editorial writers to try claim our tax burden per capita is so much lower than other states… cost of living makes a huge difference.

      1. Mark Stewart

        It’s a good point as long as everyone remembers that there are two sides to this – the money earned and the money spent. Lower cost of living doesn’t mean anything if the avg income differential is far higher (and don’t forget your savings, people).

        All things being equal, it is better to earn more than to pay less. That way, one can always take a cheap trip to SC for vacation and not sweat it. Visiting NYC from SC? That’s tougher.

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Agreed. A friend of mine used to be a lawyer up in NYC. Accordingly, she made NYC money. However, when it came time for her and her husband to have a family, they realized they couldn’t live in NYC.

          They moved to Charleston. But here’s the best part: She kept her job with the New York City law firm (working online) since her job didn’t include any courtroom work or client meetings. So she kept her job at New York City wages, while living here and having South Carolina cost of living (and quality of living).

          Now, tell me that’s not a sweet deal.

          1. Doug Ross

            That’s how I ended in Columbia. The company I worked for in New Hampshire wanted to move people out to the field. We couldn’t afford a home in NH in 1990 but were able to get a very nice starter home here for about 60% of what it would cost in NH… and my salary didn’t change. Although, I did have to start paying state income tax which didn’t exist (and never will) in NH.

          2. Barry

            That is a sweet deal – and possibly a not so smart company – unless they simply chose to pay her those same wages.

            Many companies that have employees living in various states adjust pay according to the region of the country.

            1. Doug Ross

              I’ve worked for three very large (100K+ employee) companies and all paid the same salary for most salaried employees regardless of location.

            2. Barry

              I am sure some do.

              I use to work for an company based in the US- but with offices all over the world.

              They had a part of their website devoted to their various pay bands – based on locations, for the same job.


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