South Carolina’s economy is recovering faster than expected, state economists said Thursday.
The latest sign? More South Carolinians are working and earning more money, bolstering the state’s tax collections, those economists say.
The state has collected $100 million more than even recently increased revenue projections for its budget year that ends this month, the three-member Board of Economic Advisors said Thursday.
Total state revenues for the year are up $336.7 million, or 6.9 percent, over the same period a year ago. State economists were expecting 4.2 percent growth.
Yet another sign of the state’s recovery could come this morning, when the state announces May unemployment figures.
The Board of Economic Advisors, which met Thursday, is responsible for setting the revenue estimates that lawmakers use to draft a budget for the state. While saying the state should collect $100 million more than previously projected, the board left its revenue estimate for this year unchanged.
Lawmakers could not spend the new money in any event because they are nearing completion of the state budget for next year, board members said. They also said they wanted to be cautious, waiting and seeing what June’s state tax collections looked like.
“June always surprises us, and it’s gone both ways,” said board member Don Herriott, a former pharmaceutical executive who now oversees development of the University of South Carolina’s Innovista research campus.
The latest revenue surge is nearly identical to the amount that the panel added to state budget estimates in May – $105 million for the current budget and an additional $105 million for the budget year that starts July 1.
The revenue report is yet another sign the state is recovering from the Great Recession, which officially ended in June 2009. However, state economists said they still are concerned about some sour economic signals, including lagging home sales, falling construction and large numbers of mortgage loans going bad.
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