In the News
Jan 25 2014
DILLON, SC (WMBF) Dillon County leaders are taking a new approach to job creation. A new theme song and brand for the county was recently announced.
"One of things that's most important to me. I've tried very hard to remain here in Dillon, because I've seen the consequences of families picking up and leaving," said Natalia McLeod.
Natalia McLeod has lived in Dillon County her entire life, she has a college degree and wants to put it to use in her hometown, but says there just aren't job opportunities in the county.
"Alive on I-95 is the new brand taking over Dillon County."
Dillon County and state leaders believe the new brand "Alive on I-95" will serve as a catalyst to attract more industry and jobs to the area.
Congressman Tom Rice showed his support for Dillon County's re-branding today. He says he thinks a lack of investment has hindered development in Dillon County.
"I think historically perhaps a lot of the infrastructure investment has gone elsewhere," said Congressman Tom Rice.
Congressman Rice says, "Alive on I-95" is just what the area needs to promote what Dillon County has to offer."
"They got a lot of assets; certainly interstate is a big one, their location on the eastern seaboard. They're halfway between New York and Miami –which is great they got a lot of things going for them," said Rice.
Today's county re-branding is just slightly ahead of a new project county leaders say they are pumping more than ten million dollars into.
"We're proposing, we are working on, we got all the leadership in Dillon County working on a workforce development center for our people in Dillon County that is unemployed," said Haywood Proctor, Dillon County.
For people like Natalia the efforts going into promoting Dillon County are promising.
"I believe this is just a small sign that things are about to get better for Dillon County," said McLeod.
By Ken Baker
Jan 23 2014
FLORENCE, S.C. — U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., will hold a field hearing Friday afternoon in Dillon with several participants to discuss unemployment challenges in rural America.
Rice, who represents much of Florence County and the Pee Dee, chairs the Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access on Capitol Hill, said the hearing will examine ways the government can support economic growth and help create jobs in rural communities.
“While the recession officially ended over four years ago, more than half of the counties in the United States are yet to recover, including many in South Carolina,” Rice said. “Likewise, uncertainty has led to a much slower recovery for small businesses than large businesses. I look forward to discussing with our witnesses what can be done to better foster job creation, particularly in rural areas.”
Those witnesses include Charlotte-based Richard Kaglic, a regional economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Kaglic hinted at his prepared remarks.
“I will be talking about the national and South Carolina economic conditions, currently, and what that might portend for 2014 and what it might mean for labor markets in the state,” Kaglic said. “I will be talking about the U.S. and statewide economy. I won’t be delving down into the details. That will be for others with those areas of expertise.”
While scant on specifics, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker gave insight to employment trends during a Jan. 10 speech, where he gave his personal outlook for 2014. He said from 1983 to 2000, employment increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent. During the past four years, that number has been just 1 percent because of the size of the working age population growing more slowly than before.
“In addition, I’ve been struck by the large number of accounts I’ve heard of firms having difficulty finding workers with the appropriate skills, in many cases constraining production,” Lacker said. “It appears as if the nature of current technological advances may be shifting the mix of requisite workforce skills more rapidly than in the past, which would impede the rate at which unemployed workers can be drawn back into employment.”
Jeff McKay, executive director of the North Eastern Strategic Alliance, will provide the subcommittee with local perspective from the nine-member region it represents.
“I plan to focus on three things,” McKay said. “How to improve infrastructure and the cost and consequences that could have on the region, any mentoring opportunities from entrepreneurs who have been successful on a national stage and access to capital, which seems to be part of any discussion you hear about with rural, small business growth.”
Joe Jacobs, senior vice president of operations with the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said South Carolina’s manufacturing situation varies daily.
“That’s the million-dollar question. We’re very busy right now, but it’s up and down,” Lacker said. “I think manufacturing is coming back, but that’s something subject to change almost on a daily basis.”
Jan 16 2014
Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief