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SC Holds At No. 42 On US News’ State Rankings

Palmetto State dragged down by education, crime …

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Plagued by abysmal outcomes with respect to education and crime, South Carolina continued to languish near the bottom of the latest “Best States Rankings” from U.S. News and World Report.

For the second year in a row, the Palmetto State ranked No. 42 on this list – lagging well behind neighboring Georgia (No. 17) and North Carolina (No. 18).

Dragging it down? Low marks in education (No. 43), “opportunity” (No. 41) and “crime and corrections” (No. 46). South Carolina also fared poorly with regard to health care and infrastructure (ranking No. 36 in both categories).

Was there any good news? Well, the state came in at No. 16 nationally in the category of “economy,” fueled by an ostensible No. 8 ranking in “growth” – which, ironically, included “GDP growth rate.”

“This metric measures the three-year compound annual growth rate of real gross domestic product by state in millions of chained 2012 dollars, or dollars that have been adjusted for inflation to allow for year-to-year comparison,” U.S. News noted. “It captures trends from 2014 to 2017, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.”

Hmmm … clearly, those “trends” did not include South Carolina’s 2018 performance.

Also, it is worth noting South Carolina once again trailed neighboring North Carolina (No. 11) and Georgia (No. 12) on this “growth” metric.

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Our view? National rankings are a dime a dozen these days, so it is not always easy to decipher fact from fiction when these reports are rolled out.

This particular report comes from a credible news source and pulls from seemingly reliable government and industry data – although sometimes the numbers are dated, while other times they are weighted incorrectly in our estimation.

For example, in bestowing upon the Palmetto State the No. 23 national ranking for “employment,” U.S. News claimed the state’s labor participation ranked No. 40 nationally.

That figure is simply inaccurate. Even after posting its biggest monthly gain in years in March, South Carolina’s labor participation currently ranks No. 46 nationally – ahead of only Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and West Virginia. Also, U.S. News assigns equal weighting to labor participation and unemployment, even though the latter metric is a terrible gauge of a state’s employment situation.

As for this news outlet, we will continue to report on the economic metrics that matter: Labor participation, income levels and overall economic expansion (i.e. gross domestic product growth).

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