The state revenue figures for the first quarter of this fiscal year are up nearly four percent compared to the figures of the last fiscal year’s first quarter. State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom says it’s a positive sign for the economy, and he remains cautious and hopeful that the recession could be coming to an end. He says he’s waiting for the clear signal of a significant drop in the unemployment rate which is currently 11 percent and there’s a significant reason the state’s unemployment rate remains relatively high is rapid population growth.
According to U.S. Census figures released this summer, South Carolina is among the fastest growing states over the last decade. The population is nearly 4.6 million, a 13.7 percent increase above nine years ago.
Eckstrom says while South Carolina has been successful in attracting new industry and creating jobs, they’re just not being created fast enough. Eckstrom says the state’s system of technical colleges is the envy of many states. He says these institutions will continue to be the key to greater job creation by providing the knowledge and skills people will need to be properly matched with the job opportunities provided by new industries.
Eckstrom says the ideal would be to have zero unemployment, but a more realistic goal is to cut our present unemployment rate in half.