Sun, April 21, 2024

Simon Says: SC’s LMI shines!

Last week, I reported data on Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) labor markets in Georgia. However, the Augusta MSA includes two counties (Aiken and Edgefield) in South Carolina, so how does Augusta compare to South Carolina MSA’s over the last year?

Overall, South Carolina’s MSAs all performed better than Augusta, and South Carolina did better than Georgia. The South Carolina Labor Market Index (LMI) increased by 2.7% compared to 1.1% in Georgia. The fastest growing MSA in South Carolina was Charleston at 4.1% and the slowest was Spartanburg at 1.7%, still faster than the 1.1% of Augusta.

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Charleston saw improvements in all components of the LMI. Employment increased by 5.7% and unemployment fell by 0.3 percentage points. The labor force grew by 7.2%, average weekly earnings increased by 3.4%, and hours worked by 0.3%.

Across South Carolina, employment increased by 2.6% and unemployment fell to 3%. The labor force grew by 4.4% and average weekly earnings increased by 3.2% to $1030.20. However, hours worked fell by about 45 minutes. By contrast, across Georgia employment rose by 2.0% and the unemployment rate rose to 3.4%. The labor force grew by 2.5% and average weekly earnings by 3.4% to $1081.94. Georgians worked 6 minutes more in December 2023 than in December 2022.

Overall, the evidence is pretty clear, South Carolina’s labor markets had a better 2023 than Georgia’s.

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