Oct
30

South Carolina Economists Give Gloomy Forecast

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October 30, 2008

Associated Press

South Carolina may be mired in a recession through mid-2009, economists told the state’s Board of Economic Advisors on Wednesday.

The board held its annual conference with university economists and private sector forecasters as it prepares to make a first revenue forecast for state budget writers next month for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2009.

Sinking gas prices offered a spot of good news for consumers, but utility representatives on the panel said their companies were planning rate increases that would take some of that money from household budgets.

Economists offered mostly bad news: Bank lending remains tight, real estate sales are slow and high-end restaurants and retailers are losing customers who are going to cheaper places and cooking at home. There’s little sign that major industries plan to come to the state, expand or grow jobs. Wages are expected to grow less than 2 percent.

“The trough of this recession will occur over the next nine months rather than over the next 18 months,” board Chairman John Rainey said.

November through June “will be the most challenging for our state in terms of revenues and the budget,” Rainey said.

While the economy will be growing by then, unemployment will continue to grow, Rainey said. “But we will be coming out of this.”

LINK TO ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/oct/30/economists_give_gloomy_forecast59712/

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