The S.C. Commerce Department says that taxpayers shelled out $54,000 for S.C. Gov. Haley’s latest “economic development” trip – a weeklong jaunt to Tokyo, Japan earlier this month.

And it was money well spent, Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt told The Associated Press.

Of course state estimates of travel costs have been way off in the past, as evidenced by Commerce’s gross underestimation of the costs associated with Haley’s 2011 “European Vacation.”  The total tab for that trip wound up being $231,000 – almost twice what the agency initially disclosed.

Will the tab for this trip climb higher, too?

Haley said this week that her administration’s economic development efforts – which rely on taxpayer-funded subsidies doled out in a secretive, unaccountable manner – were “on the right track.”  The numbers do not support that contention, however.  Over the last four months South Carolina’s unemployment rate has climbed from 8.9 to 9.6 percent – an increase that doesn’t include an estimated 20,000 Palmetto State workers who have left the labor force.

In fact as of last month, South Carolina’s labor participation rate (58.4) stood at an all-time low.