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Experts Make Predictions for South Carolina's 2018 Economy

File: An information packet from last year's Economic Outlook Conference at USC.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio
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Like the stock market, which has reached all-time highs in recent weeks, consumer confidence is high.   And that same optimism is fueling the economic outlook for South Carolina for 2018.  Economists Joey Von Nessen and Doug Woodward participated in a recent conference in Columbia, in which they predicted slow but steady growth of the economy in the coming year, at a rate of 2.1 percent.  Personal income should be rise to 4.3%, up from 3.8%, said Von Nessen.  The experts said large companies have brought many jobs to the state, turning around the general wisdom that small business historically generate the most jobs in an economy.   But Woodward observed that it’s not just foreign companies like Volvo, BMW and Samsung, but large domestic businesses as well.  Unemployment was expected to drop in 2018 from 3.9% to 3.6%, bringing the country near full employment, and as workers become harder to find, that typically raise wages, said Von Nessen.  He added to the good news by predicting that any threats to the economy most likely will be few and small.

Tut Underwood is producer of South Carolina Focus, a weekly news feature. A native of Alabama, Tut graduated from Auburn University with a BA in Speech Communication. He worked in radio in his hometown before moving to Columbia where he received a Master of Mass Communications degree from the University of South Carolina, and worked for local radio while pursuing his degree. He also worked in television. He was employed as a public information specialist for USC, and became Director of Public Information and Marketing for the South Carolina State Museum. His hobbies include reading, listening to music in a variety of styles and collecting movies and old time radio programs.