Inside SC’s Shrinking Workforce

EVERYBODY’S HURTING … By FITSNEWS  ||  South Carolina’s plummeting labor participation rate doesn’t care if you’re black or white … or male or female. According to a breakdown published by the Palmetto Policy Forum – a think tank founded by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint – every demographic in the state…


By FITSNEWS  ||  South Carolina’s plummeting labor participation rate doesn’t care if you’re black or white … or male or female.

According to a breakdown published by the Palmetto Policy Forum – a think tank founded by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint – every demographic in the state is suffering from workforce shrinkage.

“From 2008 to the most complete numbers we have in 2013, South Carolina’s labor participation has seen a uniform, steady decline across gender and race, aside from a 2012-2013 rebound among Hispanic workers,” a release from the organization states.

In other words no matter who you are, the search for work – especially the sort of work that pays the bills – is becoming increasingly elusive.

Nationally, the labor participation rate – or the share of the working age population that’s either employed or actively looking for work – continues to slip.  Earlier this month it hit a 36-year-low of 62.7 percent.  In South Carolina the rate is currently 57.8 percent – just above a record low.

South Carolina finished 2013 ranked No. 46 nationally in this key measure of economic virility.

Why does this matter?

Because declines in the unemployment rate – both at the state and national level – are being touted as signs of economic progress when the reality is more people than ever are not working.  In fact the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a whopping 92.6 million working age Americans were not participating in the workforce.

Anyway, for those of you keeping score at home here is the Palmetto Policy Forum release on South Carolina’s labor participation in chart form …

(Click to enlarge)

sc labor participation

(Chart via)

Ouch … does that look like a recovery to you?

Of course not … and neither does this, this or this.

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SC Political Digest October 7, 2014 at 3:11 pm

The COUNTRY”S shrinking workforce Dumb@$$…it all began in late 2008…I WONDER why…Dick Tracey…????

Gary October 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

At least you’re not alone in the unemployment pool. Do you qualify as someone who has given up looking for work and therefore not included in the numbers?

Smirks October 7, 2014 at 3:59 pm

You can’t give up if you never started.

Smirks October 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

There you go, blaming Bush again.

euwe max October 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm

It’s like some kind of *disease*!

johnq October 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm

When Bush crashed the economy?

;-) October 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

The Republicans and Tea Party are doing such a bang up job with SC’s economy. Thanks for giving me something to point to when friends here in CO talk about voting Republican. They cut that noise out real quick. Keep it up!

SomalianRoadCorp October 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Nice false equivalence you have there.

;-) October 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm

How so?

SomalianRoadCorp October 7, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Politics and demographics are complex animals. Even if the SCGOP was remotely friendly to the worker and industry, you can’t make people want to improve their lives and community if they don’t want to. Colorado could be doing much better with the same theoretical policies as SC, in which SC struggles , largely due to junkyard america demographics.

Take the largely socialized nations of Mexico and Norway. Norway is a highly developed nation, while Mexico is borderline developing. Demographics? Yep.

;-) October 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

Let’s see…SC run by Repubs for awhile. Sits at the bottom of nearly every measurable index of success. Now look at CO. That’s all the comparison one needs. I have personally lived in and dealt with both. I and about everyone else agree, SC isn’t the best place to live, work and raise a family. Enjoy those Tea Party policies while trying to blame the Democrats. The favored passtime of the Palmetto state.

SomalianRoadCorp October 8, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Policies don’t matter when the people governed by it don’t care. If you are going to say that SC is in the state it is because of the GOP, the same could be said that its because of SC’s large black demographic. Lookie there, I made a false equivalence like yourself.

euwe max October 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Republicans are scum – ask anyone in the tea party – they’ll tell you the unvarnished truth from the *inside*!

Psst! October 8, 2014 at 12:22 am

Party makes no difference. Most all politicians are narcissistic scum. They don’t run for office to serve the public, as you know.

Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm

What’s the elderly population figures look like for SC? I suspect a lot of people retiring in SC aren’t in the workforce, which could make our labor participation figures seem worse than they otherwise are.

juststop October 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

stop asking irrelavent question Jackie, everyone is tired of your bs.

Bible Thumper October 7, 2014 at 9:06 pm

The nations elderly population is a growing percentage of the population. South Carolina’s elderly population is growing slightly faster than the nations. People are retiring earlier because of limited job opportunities and lower wages etc… But there is also lower labor participation rates among younger age groups. Women staying home, disability benefits, poor job opportunities etc…

nitrat October 7, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Jesus, this is beating a dead horse JUST because the right wing can’t stand any improvement in the economy or the unemployment rate after all they have done to destroy the economy since the day Barack Obama was sworn in.

FastEddy23 October 7, 2014 at 4:16 pm

And the buck stops where?

euwe max October 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

at the doe.

nitrat October 8, 2014 at 7:47 am

For doing everything they can to destroy the US economy since 2008, the buck stops with the once GOP. They have opposed economic measures they supported as recently as the post 9/11 recession to ‘get’ the Democratic president, country be damned.
When a major political party does not believe in majority rule in the House or Senate or accept when a president is elected by a majority of the American people that is a subversion of democracy.
When gerrymandered House districts gave the party with 1million+ fewer votes than the other party received the House ‘majority , all rational people should worry that fascism is on the march in this country and it’s coming from the Right…where it always comes from in the history of the world.

I Hate Graham October 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Obama is doing a wonderful job blocking jobs. And Lindsey Graham is helping him.

FastEddy23 October 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Oh Bummer.

Jose' Jesus Santiago October 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

The Illegal Aliens are our friends. Just ask Lindsey Graham. Why, they are doing the jobs Americans watch them do while Americans sit home and draw welfare and unemployment. And why is that? Because it pays more than what businesses who hire illegals as subcontractors pay. That’s why. Isn’t this great!!!!!! And to think. My people from Central America, they bring so much to the USA to help whitey. We help create jobs at hospitals and doctors offices. We bring your our germs and diseases. :-)

FastEddy23 October 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Correct. The one demographic not counted: Illegal, undocumented, felonious non-citizens.

johnq October 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm

As soon as I heard the “policy” was formulated by DuhMint there was no reason to read further.


Tazmaniac October 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm

And yet the amazing part is how quickly someone joins the workforce when the Government freebies quit coming in. Less freebies = Higher workforce participation, but who can run on that?

Its All Falling Apart October 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Drop in wages. Low wages at rates paid 15 years ago while profit has gone through the roof for many. People who work with their hands doing hard labor should be paid more than a lawyer or some pencil chewing director at DSS. Government is the problem. People in government are the real criminals. They set examples all the time for the peasants. Over paid and worthless nothings that should be referred too as “government babies” that would never make it in todays real world. As long as the taxes keep rolling in (and they will), the government employees have a lifetime secure job with excellent benefits. Government jobs are lazy jobs. Private sector jobs, you better work hard or nobody wants you.

truthmonger October 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Keep believing that. It’s probably because you weren’t capable enough to hold down a government job. Benefits are now no longer better, and pay was never increased to match the private sector. You’re just spouting lies you’ve been told so you’ll vote a particular way. Truth is, many public workers are there out of a sense of duty. It sure isn’t for the money!

Your Mom Is a Slut October 7, 2014 at 11:35 pm

You a delusional pathological liar, no doubt about that.
Thanks for the laugh.

Really? October 8, 2014 at 1:34 am

“Truth is, many public workers are there out of a sense of duty.”

A sense of duty to what exactly?

E Norma Scok October 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Where can I get one of those gubmint jobs? I’ve been looking, but can’t find one.

euwe max October 7, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I’m trying for phone tapper.

Smiley Faces, Corrupt Places October 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm

SCE&G ——- Nuclear Power Plant Under Construction —- 2500 construction workers on site, majority of them are NOT citizens of South Carolina. But South Carolinians have to pay increased rates to build two reactors. Why is the contractor on this project hiring mostly non residents? Why are these jobs not going to full time residents of SC when they are paying by way of SCE&G utility rate increases to have these multi Billion dollar reactors constructed?

Bill October 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

It was really a shock to learn the new reactor project is going to be delayed possibly until 2019 and there are going to be major cost increases. I personally think we can expect more delays and cost overruns. It adds to profit made by SCE&G and the construction companies. They are criminally abusing the tax payers with fabricate or inflated cost over-runs.

StopTheInsanity October 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

Considering SCE&G has already stroked a $550 million check with customers picking up the tab!

Union Man October 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

As sure as the sun rises each day, there will be more cost increases on top of the most recently reported for construction. And I don’t have to say why, either.

Tazmaniac October 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Do you really want to know or are you just saying this for shock value? I don’t want to bother explaining if you’re just trying to push a narrative.

Smiley Faces, Corrupt Places October 8, 2014 at 12:25 am

Go right ahead. Say what I already know you will say. But please proceed. And add the city and state where you were born and raised, too.

Tazmaniac October 8, 2014 at 9:49 am

In industrial construction in general, and in nuclear construction especially, there is a HUGE shortage of Qualified workers in any state. Virtually all of these projects are staffed by mostly people willing to travel and live away from their home. They make pretty good pay and travel expenses for doing so. I’m born and raised 3rd gen Floridian and this type of work is how I landed in the Carolinas. Perhaps we need less European Art History Majors working at Starbucks and more Electricians, Plumbers, and so forth.

StopTheInsanity October 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

“Pretty good” pay? I know a guy on site out there that barely graduated high school, NO college education, NO special certifications or training who will make close to 100K this year.

Tazmaniac October 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

I have yet to meet the guy on the job who complains about being overpaid, thus “pretty good” means your not going to whine as much. Plus your “guy” is probably more trained than his looks appear to show, just the fact he can pass the Nuke screen sets him apart, and he is working OT, and is collecting nice per diem.

StopTheInsanity October 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

No doubt his prior experiences come into play, all on the job training. He seems to think that once these other 2 reactors make it online that our rates will decrease, hope he’s right.

Union Man October 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

They rarely if ever go down. Unless the SC public service commission follows a script to make it seem to the citizens, that they are keeping a noose around SCE&G. When the VC Summer Nuclear plant (the one obviously mentioned in this thread because its their only nuke station) was originally built (referred too as unit #1), SCE&G raised rates to built it, too. That was back in the 70s and very early 80s.

Union Man October 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Yes …. journeyman pay last I heard was 25 per hr …70 or 75 a day per diem for days worked (if you had residence outside a 50 mile radius). Lots of over time for certain crafts. Must be as a basic, certified journeyman and NCCER certified (which facilities in South Carolina that offer test for NCCER certification is slim to none). NCCER requirements alone knock out most of the pool of skilled workers in SC – which could possibly cause legal problems for CB&I if someone or a number of people wanted to make an issue of it. But that would be a moot issue if NCCER testing and certification is being done at CB&I’s Columbia facilities as part of the job/employment pre qualification screening process. Certainly they do not want to face lawsuits that could further delay the project. SCE&G would not be happy about that.

Tazmaniac October 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I got my level V NCCER for free maybe 14 years ago. You would be surprised how many guys thought it was a sham or wouldn’t invest 6 hours a week of their time after work for it. At least one High School in every county should have that available, I don’t know maybe they do.

25 & 75 sounds a little low for a Nuke job. Maybe because they aren’t in a hurry?

Iron Rod October 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm

That is low pay for industrial craft. The norm across the nation is higher. There are jobs for skilled construction workers right now being advertised in other states as high as $38 hour with PD. I guess because it is South Carolina that the wages out there are lower. With the NCCER in South Carolina I thought I would run it through Google. Only came up with two or three places. One was SCE&G themselves for their own people. Another was at the Daniels Construction office in the Greenville area. And another looks like a full time 6 weeks course during working hours at Midlands Tech in Columbia. I know some contractors will do the NCCER on site. Why isn’t CB&I doing this? Its just a test. If you are worth your salt in your craft, you should be able to pass the written and the performance part. I don’t know anybody out there. But might ask around some of my pals that travel. Any traveling industrial guy keeps up to date with whats happening. Most of my time has been with Zack and KBR.

4 Decades in Industrial October 9, 2014 at 6:39 am

Plumbers on an industrial construction project? The term is “pipefitters.” Big difference between commercial construction and industrial construction. Nuclear is no craft specialty. Its still big process pipes, big switch yards, cable trays, vessels, and so forth. Engineers draft drawings showing exact placements down to even process pipe supports and elevations and conduit racks. Are you sure you know what you are talking about, or are you just trying to act like you do? Don’t let the big boys flush any bs. Leave the facts to the real backbone knows what the fuck they are doing guys.

Tazmaniac October 9, 2014 at 7:32 am

Yeah, because at a Nuke plant you have to drive to town to take a dump. I’ve never seen pipefitters install toilets genius. Its old bastards like you that are insecure about keeping a job that keep young folks out of the crafts. I’ll bet they pay double to get guys to work around a jackass like you, probably spend most your time hanging around the gang box boring everyone with your war stories.

Joe October 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Born and raised in Columbia, SC a product of the public school system and a USC grad and a 7th generation South Carolinian. I can tell you from trying to hire workers in this state for the most basic, entry level jobs that plenty are under-qualified.

The issue is once you get outside of the population centers, the level of education drops off rapidly, along with the combo punch of everyone who couldn’t make it in New Michipennslyhio coming here for a career mulligan because they didn’t have the skills to compete the first go around.

Union Man October 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm

On Feb. 10, 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) for Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4, the first such license ever approved for a U.S. nuclear plant, signifying that full construction can begin. We’re the first U.S. utility in more than 30 years.

Startups are planned for 2017 and 2018.

The units will incorporate light-water Westinghouse AP1000 design technology.

Torch October 7, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Oxymoron Jim Demint and Think Tank.

Alvin GreeneJeans October 8, 2014 at 9:57 am

Hey, isn’t that the guy that started the recession?

Hi, I'm Nikki October 8, 2014 at 12:13 am

You want fries with that?

Marilyn Morphadyke October 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Just because there is an opportunity in Colorado to smoke weed does not mean you will do it.
Just because there is an opportunity is SC to work does not mean you will apply for the job.
The unemployment rate sits at 5.9 which is a great achievement for Obama. I wonder how many new jobs are at McDonalds and how many are at Michelin or BMW or the Inland Port.
There are always those who will work or make the effort and those who will not and this cuts across all age and income and racial groups.
The textile jobs are gone and this is why small town South Carolina is vacant and vacuous and full of meth labs. People must understand that in order to get a good job now you have to bust your butt in school, avoid a criminal record, don’t do drugs or alcohol, never get a DUI, and always try to do the right thing. And these same people, because they cannot get work, file for disability and get income in that way.

Snoop Daddy Dawg October 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm


Just Me February 18, 2015 at 7:57 am

It’s a proven fact that survey numbers can be manipulated to give you the
expected result. The government does it all the time. One thing I
wonder about this survey is what constitutes “working age population”?
18-62, 18-65, 18-67 It would matter to the numbers. We have a lot of
people moving to SC to retire. But are they young enough to be counted
as “working age population”?


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