Economics of Laurens County, Upstate & USA

The Laurens County Development Corporation (LCDC) held its Annual Meeting yesterday afternoon at Musgrove Mill Golf Club. LCDC Director Jonathan Coleman reported that requests for information (RFIs) on Laurens County were up in 2017. The 63 RFIs were above the number for the past two years. Coleman said that properties submitted in 2017 were about evenly balanced from the Clinton, Laurens and Gray Court areas. He said Laurens County has five announcements made that included two new industries. These included GE, which selected Clinton for its new $29 million Renewable Energy R & D center. It will focus on renewables such harvesting wind energy. Also announcing for Laurens County was REMA USA, which supplies parts for electric cars and other vehicles.

Jon Coleman said Laurens County announcements last year resulted in 122 new jobs and investments of $128.6 million. He said that, taking spinoff job creations into account, this should result in 157 new jobs were created.

He added that although these numbers are positive, job creation was still registered as “not as high” as it has been in the last 10 years. Coleman concluded this was related to increase in automation in the manufacturing industry.

Keynote speaker yesterday was Dr. Bruce Yandle, Dean Emeritus of Clemson University’s College of Business & Behavioral Science. He said the U.S. has a “Sleep-Walking Economy,” with “solidly slow” growth for 3 years. He said that while data shows positive change, the national economy is getting weaker.

Dr. Yandle said Greenville-Spartanburg’s economic growth has been well above the national average since 2016. Noting Laurens County’s labor force shrank in 2012 & 2013, there was growth from late 2013 to early 2014 and again from January of 2016. Yandle said that after scary roller-coaster ups and down in Laurens County’s economy, it has now stabilized and ranked #7 in the state for the past 12 months.