Manufacturing helped lead South Carolina out of the recession, setting the stage for a boost from another sector.
The housing market in general, and new-home construction in particular, is now fueling growth, according to an economist at the University of South Carolina.
“Because of increases in disposable income, more consumers are making new home purchases instead of remodeling existing homes,” says Joey Von Nessen with the Moore School Division of Research.
The Market Edge, a Tennessee-based firm, tracks residential building permits in several states, including 14 South Carolina counties. It found that through the first nine months of 2015, permits were up 19 percent year-over-year in the Upstate and 12.3 percent in the Columbia metropolitan area.
Of the two South Carolina counties it tracks in the Charlotte metro, permits in Lancaster and York were up 21.7 percent and 63.9 percent, respectively.
Von Nessen says housing gains in the Rock Hill area are reflective of general economic development growth trends in the Charlotte metro.
Statewide, housing isn’t the only thing that’s taking off.
“Additionally, nonresidential construction is benefiting from major increases in the growth of retail trade,” Von Nessen says.
What’s driving the construction boom?
“This year represents the first time in the current expansion that we’ve seen the creation of high-wage jobs accompanied simultaneously by significant wage growth across multiple industries,” Von Nessen says. “This means that more South Carolinians are feeling the effects of the expansion.”