Local economy showing improvement

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By Stan Welch

In a still struggling and uncertain economy, Anderson County continues to attract industry, manufacturing and associated jobs to the area, according to two different measures of economic growth.

The figures for the month of October, provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statis5tics (USBLS) and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) indicate that the number of county residents in the workforce increased by 644 over the September figure.

The net increase was 603 as the number of unemployed rose by 41. Unemployment in Anderson County remained stable at eight per cent.

While the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) gives a more recent look at the employment situation, it is less detailed and less specific than the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, (QCEW). QCEW is a more precise measure of the growth of the local economy.

Rather than being based on a sample of the general population, like LAUS, QCEW statistics are drawn from the actual head count of employment and wages paid for all establishments covered by unemployment insurance programs. The numbers, however, would not include Anderson residents working outside the county. Conversely, it would include out of county residents working in Anderson County.

Those numbers take longer to collect and analyze, so that the numbers provided below reflect the situation during the first quarter of 2012. They are compared to the same quarter in 2011.

Employment across all industry sectors increased by 1639 jobs during the year, reflecting an increase of 3%.That increase, along with other factors, such as raises and cost of living increases, created an increase in wages paid of more than thirty four million dollars. That increase brought the total wages paid across all industry sectors to more than $490 million.

The Construction sector of the economy experienced an increase of 481 jobs, a significant jump of 24%, to a total of 2460 jobs. Wages in the construction sector almost doubled, as higher paying jobs came to the area. The wages paid reached more than $30 million, up from $16 million in 2011.

Manufacturing also grew a healthy 4.8%, adding 558 jobs. Total wages paid grew by almost 8 per cent, up from $133.8 million to $144 million.

Retail trade, transportation and warehousing, educational services, and accommodation and food services sectors of the economy all grew, adding an average of approximately 145 jobs.

The arts, entertainment and recreation sector lost 52 jobs as restaurants and other businesses continued to struggle. The public administration sector showed a decline of twenty jobs.