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BUT THAT’S NOT THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE PALMETTO ECONOMY … 

South Carolina’s unemployment rate rose from 5.3 percent in June to 5.7 percent in July – although as we’ve mentioned on multiple previous occasions this widely-watched economic indicator isn’t the true test of a state’s jobs situation.

The Palmetto State has seen its unemployment rate sliced nearly in half over the last five years – which on the surface is good news.

The problem?  Our state’s labor participation rate has shrunk to a record low of 57.8 percent. In fact more than 15,000 fewer South Carolinians were in the work force last month than at the same time a year ago.

Recovery?  Not so much …

Which explains the Palmetto State’s surge in government dependency.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who brands herself America’s “Jobs Governor” – has been busted inflating the state’s employment numbers on several previous occasions (including HERE and HERE).  But her real trick has been touting the state’s declining unemployment rate.  That’s deceptive, because as we’ve pointed out repeatedly the drop-off hasn’t been due to an influx of new jobs (or new hiring by existing businesses), but rather the result of tens of thousands of working age South Carolinians leaving the workforce .

Oh, and the jobs Haley has “brought” to South Carolina – taxpayers have had to pay for them .

Which defeats the purpose, if you ask us …

Anyway … Haley’s political opponents moved quickly this week to point out the rise in the unemployment rate.  They also took note of Haley’s conspicuous silence on the data – a notable contrast to her giddy “It’s a Great Day in South Carolina” pronouncements whenever the rate goes down.

That’s not the issue, though. The issue is the underlying labor market … which is something Haley’s opponents could have been slamming her on for months.

Frankly, the whole debate is disappointing on so many levels …

As a member of the S.C. House of Representatives from 2005-11, Haley was an aggressive proponent of individual income tax relief aimed at empowering the consumer economy and generating organic job growth and capital investment.  Since becoming governor, though, she’s leaned almost exclusively on a command economic model of picking winners and losers with taxpayer dollars – a strategy that has demonstrably failed in the past.

And the present … 

If the people of the Palmetto State want a real recovery, they’ll demand an end to the corporate cronyism – and passage of the income tax elimination bill championed by S.C. Sen. Katrina Shealy.