SOUTH CAROLINA WORKFORCE HITS A NEW RECORD LOW …
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is America’s “Jobs Governor,” or so she would have you believe … just don’t ask her how she’s lowered the state’s unemployment rate.
Haley has been busted inflating the state’s jobs numbers on several previous occasions (including HERE and HERE), but that’s not her real trick. The governor’s primary method of “reducing joblessness” in the Palmetto State has been …. drumroll, please … shrinking the size of its workforce.
Labor participation in South Carolina slipped to a new record low of 57.9 percent in March, according to the latest federal data. That’s a whopping 5.3 percent below the federal rate of 63.2 percent – which itself has been hovering at three-decade lows for the past few years.
When Haley took office, the rate stood at 60.4 percent – but has been falling precipitously ever since.
Ready for some context? Only West Virginia (53.8 percent), Mississippi (55.9 percent) and Alabama (56.8 percent) have lower labor participation rates than South Carolina.
“It’s a great day … for forty-six other states,” one fiscally conservative State Senator told FITS, mocking Haley’s “It’s a great day in South Carolina” slogan.
As we noted the last time we covered this oft-overlooked statistic, “South Carolina’s shrinking unemployment rate isn’t the result of an influx of new jobs – nor is it attributable to new hiring by existing businesses … its the result of tens of thousands of working age South Carolinians leaving the workforce.”
Nikki Haley doesn’t discuss that, though. Nor does she discuss the number of jobs South Carolina has lost since she took office (like the 500 jobs manufacturing giant Caterpillar just announced it is shedding). Nor does her administration provide an accounting for the billions of dollars spent on taxpayer-funded “economic development” – government subsidies which often fail to produce a return on investment.
If Haley mentioned those things, people would soon realize the employment situation in the Palmetto State is nowhere near as rosy as she would have you believe … which makes it not unlike our state’s income situation. Or its academic situation.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news but it is not a “great day in South Carolina,” people. It’s a dark day … and getting darker for those looking for work.
In fact South Carolina is about to lose even more ground to North Carolina, which recently enacted a broad-based individual income tax cut.
While embracing wild spending increases, Haley has supported only modest tax relief since taking office. Her Democratic opponent Vincent Sheheen has offered no tax cuts. Libertarian gubernatorial nominee Steve French, on the other hand, has embraced legislation sponsored by S.C. Sen. Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) to eliminate the state’s individual income tax over a five-year period.
“This is why it is so important to get a candidate that is willing to call a spade a spade, a candidate that looks at all the numbers, not just the numbers that can be cherry picked to make a particular point,” French told FITS. “We need different people in office to make a difference. Eliminating the income tax would allow businesses not politicians to bring more jobs into the state organically and really turn South Carolina around.”