MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach led the state in three key economic indicators in 2014: employment growth, retail trade, and unemployment decline, according to experts at the USC's Darla Moore School's 34th Economic Outlook conference.
In 2014, employment growth was positive in every major region in the state, with the largest gains occurring in Myrtle Beach, which say a 4 percent increase when comparing October 2014 to October 2013. The next-highest region, Augusta, saw a 3.5 percent gain.
The Palmetto State also saw gains in retail trade across most regions when comparing October 2013 to October 2014, with the primary gains occurring in Myrtle Beach, up 3.2 percent, Charleston, up 2.7 percent, Spartanburg, 2.0 percent, and Rock Hill, 1.9 percent.
Unemployment rates in October 2014 declined across the board when compared to the same month in 2013. The rate in Myrtle Beach declined .9 percent, the largest decline across all the metropolitan areas in the state.
Residential building permit activity was up across the state, with the largest gains Greenville (about 57.7 percent), followed by Myrtle Beach with gains of 43.8 percent.
The annual Economic Outlook conference was held Tuesday at the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, and featured economists from the school's Division of Research presenting detailed breakdowns of the state's economy this year, and a forecast for 2015.
"If you liked 2014, then you'll like 2015," says Joseph Von Nessen, Research Economist. "South Carolina's economy hit its stride this year, and we expect that trend to continue."
Although the manufacturing industry is still a major economic driver in South Carolina, job creation is shifting more toward the leisure and hospitality sector and the employment services sector, he says.
"Consumers are in better financial shape this year. Households are carrying less debt and their net worth has increased," Von Nessen says. "This means that consumers have more disposable income, which is increasing demand for tourism-related industries, especially in South Carolina's coastal regions."
To read more about the economic outlook of the state, see the details on USC's website here: http://moore.sc.edu/news.aspx?article_id=443