By Robert Kittle
An analysis by Wallet Hub of the economies of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. ranks South Carolina’s economy as 27th. North Carolina’s ranks 18th, while Georgia’s is 17th. Utah ranks number 1 overall, followed by Washington state, California, Massachusetts, and Colorado. The five worst economies are in New Mexico, Maine, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
Analysts looked at things like a state’s gross domestic product, unemployment rate, median household income, and business start-up activity. South Carolina ranks 4th for exports per capita, but 47th for number of “knowledge workers” moving here from other countries. The report also looked at the migration of “knowledge workers” from other states.
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Ted Pitts says of the overall ranking of 27th, “It puts us in the middle of the pack, but I don’t think it shows us how we’re a state on the rise. I mean, the activity in South Carolina is up. One thing I also would say the report probably doesn’t accurately reflect is that I think we do have an influx of entrepreneurs that are moving to South Carolina. You go to Charleston, you see a community that’s developing there that’s going to rival Austin or San Francisco or other places.”
Pitts says one way South Carolina could rise in the rankings is to improve its business taxes. “Industry goes to a place where they can make money, so I think South Carolina’s tax code, we need to continue to look at how we simplify and deal with the tax code here in South Carolina.” He says the state also needs to continue efforts, in the K-12 education system as well as technical colleges and four-year colleges and universities, to provide well-educated and well-trained employees.