South Carolina – Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the global economy has been struggling a lot and so is the case with United States. The Covid-19 pandemic is something that happened for the very first time in the modern history causing a lot of problems for literally everyone.
With the increasing number of vaccinated people around the globe, things started moving in a positive direction although we are still far from the end of the pandemic. However, experts are starting to see the light at the end of tunnel.
According to South Carolina’s 2022 Economic Outlook report from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business released Tuesday, South Carolina is expected to fully recover by the pandemic in 2022.
The report indicates that South Carolina is among the 11 states across the country that perform much better compared to the rest of the states. That said, South Carolina is one of the states where the size of the labor force has rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels and that the state’s overall economic recovery has been better compared to the rest of the states in America.
“Part of that is due to policy. Our shutdown was more targeted, and it was more limited, and obviously the longer a business has to stay shut down, the less likely it’s going to be able to recover,” University of South Carolina Research Economist Joey Von Nessen said.
One of the major reasons why South Carolina is among the states with better recovery results is state’s economic policies. While many states just proceeded the stimulus checks to their residents, South Carolina spent more on goods, boosting the state’s manufacturing and growing logistics sectors.
Additionally, tourism and hospitality industries performed much better than expected this year boosting the overall economy and taking major role in the recovery process.
“Tourism has had one of its best years in 2021,” Von Nessen said. “We see that in terms of the data in terms of sales, in terms of lodging, in terms of a number of different metrics.”
The answer why South Carolina had one of the best tourism years lays to the fact Americans were discouraged to travel abroad as a result of the many travel restrictions that were constantly changing over the months. That led majority of Americans to travel within the country boosting the national tourism industry and economy.
“That bodes well for South Carolina’s tourism this year, as long as we don’t get another major outbreak that would shut down the tourism industry, which doesn’t look like this is happening with the current variant that’s out there,” UofSC Economics Professor Doug Woodward said.
What still rises concerns and will probably be the biggest challenge for South Carolina business sector is the workers shortage. According to Von Nessen, migration data shows that majority of people moving to South Carolina are retirement age and likely will not be filling those open jobs.
“There’s a major mismatch between supply and demand in terms of what we’re seeing right now. So it’s not enough for businesses to recapture the employees that they lost during the pandemic. They need those workers, but they need more. They need more workers because of the higher levels of demand,” Von Nessen said.
Another issue for the South Carolina economy is the inflation, but this is more global and national problem. For about 40% of the state’s workers, their wages have not risen enough to keep up with increased costs.
Despite all the challenges South Carolina will face in the upcoming period, it’s good to hear that the state is actually moving to the right direction.