State Economic Advisors: Jobless hole growing

The South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors Chairman says the state’s unemployment outlook is still grim. John Rainey says the hole is still being dug, even though the state’s unemployment rate is already above 12 percent. Rainey says some analysts wouldn’t be surprised if the South Carolina’s unemployment rate tops 15 percent over the next year as the economic crisis bottoms out.  “If we hit 15 percent, let’s hope that’s the worst case.  Because that would be horrible.  Some South Carolina counties are already at 25 percent.  And if we look back between 2003 and 2007, from the recession in 2003, we added 30,000  jobs a year.” 
Rainey says if the jobless rate does reach 15 percent it would take six years just to return to 11 percent unemployment. He explains that, ideally, the jobless rate can be reduced 1.5 percent a year.  “It would be the end of 2015 before we would drop to 11 percent.  And just keep on going from there.  Not a pretty picture.” 
Rainey says the state’s focus for job creation should change.   “We need to bring in more jobs that people can do now, not jobs they maybe could do some day with a better education.”
Rainey says making South Carolina’s industry more high tech is an important mission but he says the most important concern is jobless families being able to put dinner on the table.   “Hydrogen cell develop are important for this state for the long-term.  In the meantime, we need jobs out there that our high school graduates can do, that our tech grads can do, with their current level of education.  That will bring down the unemployment level.  We need to get focused on that and get moving.”

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