South Carolina’s economy turned in a surprisingly robust year in 2019 according to federal data released earlier this month – besting the national growth rate and expanding at a faster clip than any of its regional counterparts.
According to data (.pdf) published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Advisors (BEA) last week, gross domestic product in the Palmetto State expanded by 3 percent last year – a full 0.7 percent higher than the national growth rate of 2.3 percent.
That figure ranked eighth nationally, and trailed only Texas (4.4 percent), Utah (3.8 percent), Washington (3.8 percent), New Mexico (3.7 percent), Colorado (3.5 percent), Wyoming (3.3 percent) and Arizona (3.1 percent).
The Palmetto State edged Florida (2.8 percent) for the best growth rate in the southeast – and easily outdistanced neighboring North Carolina (2.3 percent) and Georgia (2 percent).
Impressive, right? Indeed … although 2020 is all but guaranteed to feature a huge nationwide contraction as a result of the economic shutdown associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
What drove the growth last year? A big chunk of it came from durable goods manufacturing, according to the BEA data – while the state also saw notable contributions from the retail trade, management, utility, health care, real estate and professional service sectors of the economy.
South Carolina’s growth rate last year was 0.4 percent better than 2018’s revised 2.6 percent print and 0.1 percent better than its revised 2.9 percent performance in 2016. It was 0.3 percent worse than the revised 3.3 percent growth rate for 2017, however.
The comparatively robust economic expansion the state experienced in 2019 drove significant revenue growth to the state during the current budget cycle – which began on July 1, 2019. However, as we noted over the weekend South Carolina economists have dramatically reduced their revenue forecasts due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Specifically, $507 million was shaved from the current fiscal year budget – which ends on June 30, 2020 – and $643.5 million was trimmed from the budget for fiscal year 2020-2021, which begins on July 1 of this year.
We believe those are optimistic projections, too …
Also, so far the nationwide jobs implosion stemming from the pandemic appears to be hitting South Carolina harder than other states – which is bad news considering the Palmetto State already has an anemic labor participation rate and low income levels.
To view all of the data for yourself, click or scroll through the document below …
WEB EXTRA: BEA DATAqgdpstate0420
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