The United States is still suffering through the lasting effects of the recession that hit in late 2007 and officially ended in 2009, with high unemployment rates the topic of conversation across the nation. Last week, President Obama’s jobs legislation was shot down by the United States Senate, after it was approved by the House of Representatives. Now, Obama and his administration is working to create a new bill for the job market that would create jobs and stimulate the economy.
One of the most impoverished states in the country is South Carolina, where it has risen to seventh poorest in the nation in 2010, up from 11th in 2007. According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of residents living in poverty rose from 15 percent to 18.2 percent. Spartanburg, once a major town in the state, now features a used clothing store and two pawn shops.Chris Kromm, the executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies, had the following to say:
“There’s been this kind of undertow of low-wage jobs all along,” Kromm said. “There have been successes in luring industries, there’s no question about that. But it brought an overall downward pressure on wages.”
Things are looking up for the moment in South Carolina as there are 11,000 more jobs in the manufacturing industry in the month of August as compared to a year ago. Also, BMW has also created 1,600 jobs while South Carolina won the bid for a new Continental Tire company factory in a competition with North Carolina. South Carolina will also be getting an Amazon distribution center near Columbia in the near future. There is an Adidas Distribution Center in Spartanburg as well, where temporary three-month employees can earn $9 per hour doing manufacturing work.
The BMW plant located off of I-85 promised nearly 4,000 jobs when it opened in the 1990s. Today, the plant has 7,000 jobs. Not only does the BMW plant offer jobs, they also drew 40 suppliers to the state, helped with investing in the Port of Charleston, and invested $750 million during the recent recession in the city of Spartanburg. Some in the state, such as Holly Ulrich, still think the auto plant did not boom as much as it could have:
“Those predictions were made during the boom years for South Carolina and the South, before a series of national economic catastrophes,” Ulrich said. “I haven’t seen evidence that it happened.”
Ulrich is a senior scholar at the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs at Clemson University. Many of the companies throughout the state are using temp agencies to staff their open jobs, which can allow businesses to hire those employees at an hourly rate that is less than if the company hired the employees directly. This has hurt the job market in the state, leading to higher unemployment numbers and higher poverty numbers.Solution to Poverty? Job Creation by Harrison Barnes