The state’s economy will continue to improve, but will be fragile in 2012, according to Dr. Douglas Woodward and Dr. Joey Von Nessen, who gave their annual economic forecast for 2012 Moore School’s 31st annual Economic Outlook Conference.
“Right now South Carolina’s economy is stable, and 2012 should bring further incremental gains in job growth and personal income levels,” Von Nessen said. “However, uncertainty is still high, and any market change could easily rock the boat.”
Woodward said in a media gathering, “The United States is still the fourth most competitive economy in the world and the best place to do business…and within the U.S., South Carolina is the fourth most competitive state.”
Their projections are that after a 1-percent gain in 2011, total employment growth – the most important measure of economic progress in South Carolina – is expected to improve and increase to approximately 2 percent in 2012.
The durable goods market and manufacturing industries will have the biggest employment gains in 2012, although business and health services will likely see increases as well.
“We are seeing an amazing resurgence, almost a renaissance in manufacturing,’ says Woodward.
Housing and construction also will play a big role in South Carolina’s recovery, but job growth must come first, Von Nessen said.
2012 will help reduce South Carolina’s current unemployment rate, which is 10.5 percent and the sixth highest in the nation. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate will not fall quickly, Von Nessen said.
Woodward added that, despite financial turmoil in Europe and the uncertainty surrounding the 2012 election, there are currently no indications that the economy is slipping back into recession.
USC touts the fact that the two economists’ 2011 EOC forecast proved to be accurate. Woodward and Von Nessen predicted an 11-percent unemployment rate and job growth of 1.1 percent in South Carolina. The average unemployment rate for the third quarter of 2011 was 11 percent, and year-to-date 2011 job growth is at 1 percent.
Also at the conference Moore School Dean Hildy Teegen was scheduled to discuss SC Dash, a newly developed website by the school’s Division of Research that makes available South Carolina economic data from more than 60 government agencies and private organizations and businesses to a variety of professionals, ranging from business and government leaders to grant writers and journalists.