South Carolina Small Business Situation: The Covid-19 Crush Is Real

Data shows downturn after initial bounce back from virus-related shutdowns …

Small businesses in South Carolina are continuing to struggle with the grim realities of life in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic – sparking concern for the future of the Palmetto State economy. According to new data from Opportunity Insights, small business openings and small business revenue in South Carolina are both on the downswing after a brief bounce back in late May and early June.

As of August 9, 2020, the number of small businesses open in the Palmetto State was down 11.3 percent from the beginning of the year, according to the data. Meanwhile, small business revenue was down 16.9 percent from the beginning of the year at that same point in time.

Both of these numbers were better than the national average – which clocked in at 19.1 percent lower than January levels (for both metrics) – but the trend lines are not good.

At the peak of the pandemic (and its ensuing societal shutdowns) in mid-April, the number of open small businesses in South Carolina plunged to 32.1 percent below January levels. Meanwhile, small business revenue dipped all the way to 44.8 percent below January levels (also in mid-April).

The late spring bounce back briefly lifted revenues into positive territory (1.8 percent above January levels as of May 26, 2020). Similarly, small business openings briefly clawed back into the green (1.2 percent above January levels as of July 4, 2020).

Unfortunately, this momentum has not been sustainable over the last few months.

Take a look …

(Click to view)


Obviously, those are troubling trend lines … and they become even more worrisome given the extent to which small businesses in the Palmetto State have historically received short shrift compared to large corporations tied into government’s crony capitalist cabal.

Basically, government at the state and local level forces these businesses to subsidize the capital investments and expansions of larger corporations – including those that do not provide anything resembling the sort of job growth promised by political leaders.

Also, income levels in the Palmetto State (while showing modest growth in recent years) have historically lagged well behind the national average. And as we have written extensively, South Carolina has historically had one of the smallest workforces in the nation as a percentage of its population (and no, that is not because the state has a disproportionately large population of retired citizens).

Bottom line? South Carolina’s economy was already staring down considerable economic challenges before the coronavirus and its economic fallout hit.

Now it is facing an existential threat … and so far the only response of its “leaders” has been to bail out the same government bureaucracies that landed the state in dire straits to begin with.

For the past decade-and-a-half, we have been calling on “Republican” leaders in South Carolina to stop pouring ever-escalating sums of taxpayer money into failed command economic schemes (and the corrupt, ineffectual bureaucracies advancing them) and start investing in the small businesses that drive employment and income growth.

Will they ever heed those calls?

Or will we continue to watch as the price of failure skyrockets …




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