The Post and Courier highlighted the local economy’s 2016 headlines in a single article; among the highlights:
- Update on dredging of CHS harbor with the start of a single dollar from President Trump
- Boeing’s new 787-10, made exclusively in N CHS, will be a major focus of the manufacturer forward as the larger plane replaces the shorter version 787-8 made in Seattle
- More changes at CHS airport with a focus on parking to handle the increased volume
- A strong housing outlook to handle the 35 newcomers a day moving to the region
- A tightening labor market amid the 3.4% unemployment rate, the lowest since 2000
- New retailers including member-clubs such as our first BJ’s Wholesale, a Costco in Mount Pleasant, the region’s second, and another Sam’s Club, this one in Summerville
- More hotels, including the new Hotel Bennett at Marion Square downtown with rooms starting at $500/night, and another dozen hotels approved or under construction – just on the downtown Peninsula
The Post and Courier noted that WalletHub’s list of cities that have seen the best recovery since the Great Recession ranked N CHS at #21 nationally, of 505 cities across the US based on 18 key economic indicators. Only the city of Charleston (#27) and Columbia (#84) made the list from SC.
The Post and Courier has an article that focuses on the inconsistency of researchers and forecasters on figures prior to the Great Recession and current data and who is and is not “fully recovered” from 2009. But more importantly, some statistics are glaring and impressive about CHS and its full recovery:
- 43 new residents move to the CHS region EVERY DAY.
- Since the recession ended in 2009, some 54,000 jobs have been created in the region according to Dr Frank Hefner, an economist at The College of Charleston.
- And 63,000 persons have moved here (through year-end 2014).
- As a result, the three-county CHS region recovered from the recession years ago as did the Upstate thanks to the likes of BMW and Michelin.
- But the article adds that data suggests that some 93% of the nation’s counties have not fully recovered from the economic collapse, at least by the way a study from the National Association of Counties counts the numbers. But many of the U.S.’ major metro areas – and media outlets – have recovered and good or bad, that is what gets reported.
The Milken Institute is a California-based economic think tank that annually ranks Americas largest U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. CHS ranked #17, up 22 spots from its 2014 ranking. In the Southeast, it ranked behind only Raleigh (#6) and Charlotte (#13) and ahead of other Southeast cities such as Nashville (#18), Atlanta (#27), Orlando (#28), Savannah (#30), Fort Myers (#40), and Fort Lauderdale (#41). In South Carolina, Greenville ranked #52, Columbia at #107 and Myrtle Beach at #108. The biggest assets of CHS – job growth, high tech, manufacturing and the port. David Wren of The Post and Courier has the story and rankings here.
John McDermott and Warren Wise report for The Post and Courier on the strengths and momentum of the CHS economy, and some of its challenges. Some highlights:
- 43 newcomers move to CHS region every day
- 25,000 new jobs by the end of the decade
- 5,000 new jobs in 2015 and again in 2016
- Port of CHS will have another double-digit year of growth, with container growth at 15% and 8% in 2016
- Moderate increases in building permits (6,000-6,500 for the next two years) and home sales and values
- 3.8% more passenger at CHS airport after gaining 7% in 2014
- Retail sales will moderate to 2.8% in 2015 and 2016, down from an astounding 5.4% in 2014
Some of the challenges/concerns are labor/wage inflation for employers to find qualified workers, and where is everyone coming going to live – suburban sprawl or more intense infill development?
After years of discussion and even political “footballing”, the Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station finally welcomed last week the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 from Elgin Air Force Base in Florida. Training will begin in October and some 15 F35B will be in Beaufort by next summer. Overall, the squadron means about 300 new members to Beaufort, many with families that will relocate here as this is a permanent training squadron that will train pilots, mechanics and support teams to replace the aging F/A-18 Hornets that were formerly flown out of Beaufort. Eventually, plans call for two attack squadrons and the training squadron to eventually call Beaufort home, about an hour south of CHS. The State newspaper has the article.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Summerville-based Sportsman Boats Manufacturing announced it will more than double its facility size and hire another 150 people. This is on top of the May announcement of Scout Boats that would add more than double its workforce, adding 300 jobs. Warren Wise of The Post and Courier has the story.
The Post and Courier’s Jim Parker offers an article on the rebounding (er, rebounded) high-end housing market. Some interesting stats: 1) there are some 634 home listings in Charleston Trident Association of Realtors’ online property search from $1M to $3.5M; 2) 49 are between $3.5M and $10M; 3) two are above $10M; 4) 61 homes sales above $1M thus far in 2014 (40% more than mid-2013′ stats) and that is just those south of the Crosstown, and 17 of those are more than $2.5M; and, 5) currently there are 147 homes for sale above $1M and south of the Crosstown. One realtor attributed the high-end boom and recovery to: “nationally recognized restaurants, thriving creative arts and tech scenes, and carefully preserved historic district, downtown Charleston offers a rare combination of beauty and charm, walkability, living history and sophistication.”
Car and Boat Dealers Beware – Last week, Boeing handed out another bonus to its production workers equal to about 8% of their annual pay, as well as flat $2,500 bonuses to its white-collar employees here, per a recent article in The Post and Courier.