(Pic above: A Business in Holly Hill Flooded from Hurricane Matthew)
A Difficult Week ... Hurricane Matthew is now long gone but it's effects are far reaching. Right now Teams from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, SBA, and FEMA, are traveling our state assessing damage statewide to determine what federal aid programs SC may qualify for. While it is too early to give any official estimates Goldman Sachs says Hurricane Matthew probably caused $10 billion in damage. We know many of our Chamber Members have had to close their doors this week as crews work to restore power. At the peak of the storm, more than 860,000 customers were in the dark. Once your business is up and running again use the hashtag #SCOpen4biz on social media to let your customers know you are back open again. To be connected with local relief support such as food and clothes, please dial 2-1-1.
“A Significant Setback...” that’s was Agricultural Commissioner, Hugh Weathers says about the damage Hurricane Matthew has done to South Carolina Farms. Agriculture officials from South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Clemson University, South Carolina Farm Bureau, Farm Credit and United States Department of Agriculture are working together to get an estimate of the scope of the damage but so far they say the cotton crop and soybeans saw moderate damage. Another issue will be all of the high-value fall fruits and vegetables as their next harvests will be damaged. Meanwhile, power outages and other storm related issues have killed more than 200,000 birds and some chicken farmers are still using generators to power their coops. Agriculture is our state’s number one industry. Farmers are being asked to complete Clemson’s online damage assessment form to help officials get them help.
Do you want to see tax policies change in SC? You have a unique opportunity to speak to your lawmakers on tax policy. The House Tax Policy Review Committee will meet on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at 11 AM in Room 110 of the Blatt Building on the State House grounds for the purpose of receiving comments from the public about South Carolina tax policy. Public commentary is vital to let your lawmakers know what changes you would like to see next session. To sign up to speak, call (803) 734-3230 or email the Committee at TaxPolicyReview@SCHouse.gov. The meeting will be streamed live on the State House website www.scstatehouse.gov and on ETV. This meeting was previously scheduled for October 11th, but has been moved due to Hurricane Matthew.
Charleston & Spartanburg: Manufacturing's Best...South Carolina continues to lead the country as one of the premiere states in manufacturing. And now SmartAsset is calling both Charleston and Spartanburg two of the “Best Places to Work in Manufacturing.” SmartAsset looked at 389 different parts of the country and then measured them using six different specifications. They studied one-year employment growth, five-year employment growth, one-year income growth, five-year income growth, the ratio of manufacturing workers to the total worker population and income left over after housing costs.
Charleston soared to the top of the list at number 2! The data found from 2009-2014 there was an increase of 29% in manufacturing jobs. Wages followed suit, growing 26% over the same time period. Chamber members like Boeing, TIGHITCO, and Intertech Group employ thousands of manufacturing workers and pump millions back into the economy.
Meanwhile Spartanburg came in at number 18 on the list. A whopping 22.44% of the population work in manufacturing jobs. And the one year job growth was 4.62% while the one year income growth was 4.39%. The Chamber congratulates our members BMW and Milliken & Company as strong Spartanburg manufacturers.
Getting Students to Work…This week The Chamber along Senator John Matthews and Rep. Rita Allison hosted education officials and business leaders from across the state to discuss a decade of the Education and Economic Development Act. The bill was passed back in 2005 with a goal of helping students in our state graduate with career skills and an education plan to enable them to join the workforce. The EEDA sets up a system called Personal Pathways to Success that allows them to explore career options and build real-life working skills through internships, apprentices and factory visits. In this week’s meeting, attendees acknowledged EEDA is working incredibly well in areas such as Spartangburg 6. However, other districts have not had the funds to support the programs. Moving into 2017, stakeholders would like to see the EEDA revitalized and push for legislative support that will bring back the Coordinating Council to ensure success in the future. The State Chamber's Andrea Mock interviewed Senator Matthews and Rep. Allison to get their thoughts on the EEDA moving into 2017. To watch click here.