The South Carolina Board of Economic Advisers met Thursday afternoon but decided not to change the state’s revenue projections–for this month. Board Chairman John Rainey says the board wants to see what happens concerning the Employment Security Commission in upcoming weeks, as state lawmakers debate changes at the agency and try to implement reforms. Lawmakers are also reviewing reports on the agency from a consulting firm, the Lucus Group of Boston, which are considering how to repay federal debt that has paid unemployment checks and also rebuilding the state’s trust fund.
The January unemployment figures showed that, according to adjusted figures, 12.4 percent of South Carolinians were unemployed. Rainey says the adjusted level was the same as December and came as no shock to him. He says even though the economy has turned upwards for stock market investors, the hole on the bottom for many workers gets a little deeper as the monthly unemployment rate grows. He says in this economy he has learned not to have any expectations.
We don’t know the dynamics. We haven’t been there before. We’re in unchartered waters. This unemployment is going to be a lingering, lagging indicator. For a long time. That’s going to be the soft underbelly of recovery.
The BEA meets again the second week of April.