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.
Greenville has gained a great reputation for being a great mid-sized city to work or start a business. Companies move here because they are aware of our diversed and knowledgable workforce with current skills and good work ethics. The people are friendly. And there are several educational institutes in the area.
Greenville has undergone several transformations as the local economy has evolved through different challenges. South Carolina is very pro-business in its mindset and legislation. The local political war-cry is “more jobs.”
Greenville has been blessed with many pioneers with the entrepreneurial spirit. Clemson University (Go Tigers!) is a leader in helping to grow an environment conducive to successful businesses. They are relocating several of their Master programs to the downtown area.
Another new source of development will be in healthcare education. USC (University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!)) is bringing a school for doctors to the upstate. This is really good news for the upstate since there is a fear of a shortage of doctors in the near future. It will be interesting to see the ratio of South Carolina studentscompared to other participants.
One complaint of a local human resource manager that I heard lately is that it is hard to get their employees to relocate to other areas, especially north. Though South Carolina is notorious for low pay, the cost of living seems to make it more palatable. Also, the pace of life and the weather makes the area a good place to “set roots”.
In future posts, we will explore the different projects and job fields that contribute to the local economy. We will also look at different occupations and careers from a local point of view. Like all of the US, Greenville’s economy is undergoing a seismic shift (Yes that big) due to several global forces. These will also be topics for future posts.
This is an exciting, and scary time, and I will try to keep us informed of how it all works together. I look forward to your views and comments to help us all have a better understanding and appreciation of the world around us.