Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Home Sales Increase in August

New home sales are at their highest level since August 2008 - a strong starting point for the Fall season.  August's new, single-family homes are up 5.7% over July of this year and up 18% over August of last year.

The positive increase in sales is attributed to low interest rates and better job creation.

New home sales make up 10% of the housing market with the other 90% coming from existing home sales.

According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, builder sentiment is at its highest level nearly a decade - the highest since November 2005.  Builders reported better sales conditions and increased buyer traffic.

The median home price comes in at $292,700, an 0.3% increase from this time last year.

Experts estimate there is a 4.7 month supply of new homes still on the market. With concerns over a possible rate increase coming later this year - now is the time to buy!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015


South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) generates $6.3 billion in annual economic activity in the Lowcountry region and $53 billion statewide, according to the results of a study conducted by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen and released September 14, 2015, highlighting SCPA's role as an economic driver and key competitive advantage for South Carolina. 

Read a summary of the results here.

"The Port is our state's most strategic asset," said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. "It enables South Carolina to recruit and serve the needs of companies with international supply chains, and in doing so, spurs economic development opportunities and generates well-paying jobs for people across the state." 

Monday, September 14, 2015


Probably the most important indicator of the direction of the housing market is the growth in employment, more specifically new employment growth. 

While this article addresses the overall US economy, it is not unrealistic to expect that local markets will also experience the positive impact of job growth even though local results may be greater or smaller than the national averages.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The role of economic indicators in making business decisions is the topic of an address by Joey Von Nessen presented to the 36th class of Leadership South Carolina.

"The strength of the South Carolina economy is evidenced by a 3% job growth, the highest rate since 2010. Job growth is a key indicator in any evaluation of economic activity. But other factors can provide perspective on appropriate expectations for the future. Will growth continue, lag or actually stagnate? Business leadership needs to recognize the supportive role of other economic metrics in order to minimize the risk inherent in any business decision."

Dr. Von Nessen will make his presentation at the meeting of Leadership South Carolina at the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on September 10, 2015.

Leadership South Carolina was established in 1979 by the Governor's Office and the South Carolina business community. As the oldest and most respected of the statewide leadership programs in the state, Leadership South Carolina provides gifted and highly motivated South Carolinians an opportunity to advance their leadership qualities while broadening their understanding of issues facing the state.
The recent turmoil in the equity markets has prompted questions regarding the overall economic health of the South Carolina Economy. While no one can predict the future, there are a number of indicators that can provide insight on economic activity in our state.

Most comments regarding the market volatility address the current situation in China, and this is an important factor in our economy. It is not widely publicized that South Carolina is one of the largest exporters of products in the United States, so there is substance to the comment that when China sneezes, we catch cold. But there are positive factors also at work.

Construction has come back from a difficult recession to assume its rightful place as a leader of the economic recovery. Manufacturing in our state has shown growth and stabilization. Even the assumed rate increase anticipated from the Federal Reserve will help those living on retirement investments, a significant and growing segment of our population.

The most important factor however, is emotion. The feelings of consumers will impact those intangibles in the economy and either support or undermine our progress, but it is too early to come to a conclusion. There has been no market correction in some time, we are in the seventh year of our recovery and business cycles usually follow a seven year track, but our fundamentals are strong, and we have begun to build momentum. Every sports fan knows that that may be the strongest indicator of the ultimate outcome.

Bottom line is that it is too early to panic but awareness and investigation are always appropriate. Right now that is probably the best course of action to take.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

South Carolina's Aerospace Cluster Is Outpacing Southeastern Neighbors

South Carolina is outpacing North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama in private sector aerospace employment and revenue growth, according to Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist with the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business.
In partnership with the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness and the Harvard Business School, Dr. Von Nessen presented his analysis entitled “Aerospace in the Southeast: South Carolina and Its Competitive Markets,” during the second annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo held in Columbia, S.C.
Among the key findings of the analysis:
  • From 2010-2012, South Carolina’s annual private sector aerospace employment growth increased by 15.5 percent, which exceeded North Carolina (increased by 10.7 percent), Alabama (increased by 2.5 percent) and Georgia (declined by 2.3 percent).
  • From 2010-2012, South Carolina’s annual private sector aerospace revenue growth increased by 15.5 percent, which exceeded North Carolina (increased by 8.1 percent), Georgia (increased by 6.9 percent) and Alabama (declined by 1.8 percent).
  • In private sector aerospace firm growth, South Carolina experienced an 18.7 percent increase, ranking third behind North Carolina (25.3 percent increase) and Alabama (21.3 percent increase) and ahead of Georgia, which ranked fourth with a 14.1 percent increase.
South Carolina’s aerospace cluster includes manufacturing, air transportation and air transportation support services firms operating in the private sector and the state’s four military aviation facilities. The private sector component of the aerospace cluster in South Carolina contains more than 400 firms. Approximately 74 percent of these firms are small businesses, containing five or fewer employees.
“As I’ve always said, when we get a lot of smart people together in one place, good things will happen. We will use the findings included in this report to continue the conversations about the future of our fastest-growing industry cluster,” said SC Department of Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt. “Above all else, the report shows that aerospace is now a major pillar of South Carolina’s economy and will remain so for the foreseeable future.”
“The findings show South Carolina is competing well with other states, but the findings also show there are is an opportunity to increase firm growth and diversify the sectors within the industry,” said Ann Marie Stieritz, president and CEO of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness. “The Council is guided by this information as we continue our work with individual companies and the support chain to establish a robust aerospace industry in South Carolina.”