Greenville, SC has been fortunate to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. The county’s rate was 6.7 in December and 7.1 for the area. This is largely due to the variety of jobs and companies and the vast amount of effort to bring companies into the area. Manufacturing has been one sector that has remained strong in the last few years. And our area is heavily influenced by the manufacturing plants and companies in the area.
One sector that has been stubbornly slow to return to “normal” levels has been construction. Since 2008, it has been in a “crashed” market. The jobs we loss have been very slow to return.
In 2012, Greenville was one area in the state that had an upswing in the housing market. Real estate sales in Greater Greenville were up 14.3%. This upswing was even more pronounced in December, even with the fiscal cliff hanging over us.
The upswing in real estate sales should be a forerunner to a surge in new construction. The Greenville economy has been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the hammers and saws to start echoing among our hills again. Seeing muddy boots and increased activity in the building supply stores will be a very welcomed sight.
How much construction returns and to what degree it re-energizes the local economy is anyone’s guess. But the region will be very glad to welcome it to return to more of a 2007 level than the recent absence we have experienced.