With the state’s 4.4% unemployment rate at a near two-decade low, thousands of new residents moving in from out of state, and an abundance of free or low-cost training programs, South Carolina’s work force population has been shrinking. The result is that the state’s manufacturers and distribution companies are having difficulty filling thousands of well-paying jobs because, and experts are grabbling to develop eligible workers who have a high school degree but not necessarily a college diploma. “We are sending a horrible signal to young Americans across the country that these are not good careers when, as a factual matter, they are,” Alexander Acosta, the U.S. labor secretary, told a congressional committee.
Lexington County residents have the state’s best purchasing power, according to the fourth annual study of affordable living expenses by the financial advice website SmartAsset. Lexington has a median income of $55,412 and a cost of living of $38,263, compared to the state’s average median income of $46,898 and cost of living at $33,884. The top five counties included York, Dorchester, Edgefield and Beaufort counites, followed by Charleston, Greenville, Berkeley, Spartanburg and Richland counties.
A 2014 lawsuit against Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline and their subsidiaries filed in Circuit Court in Charleston because the model of how they order online hotel rentals in bulk affects the payment of business license taxes for the hotels has resulted in a settlement of around $4.4 million. As plaintiffs agree to their shares, the North Charleston City Council voted to accept around $398,700. Such litigation has been widespread for many years, because the travel sites maintained they should only pay hotel accommodation taxes on the low rates for which they accumulate rooms and not the higher rates they charge online customers.
Gerald Seals, who was twice fired from his role as Richland County Administrator, reportedly will receive $800,000 cash, a year’s salary of $184,000 and six months of health coverage as a settlement from his former employer. Since his full hiring to the post in December 2016, he has acted in transitioning the Richland County to a biennial budget and in the development of the Richland Renaissance governmental complex. The council voted to fire him for taking major actions without consulting the group, for the high turnover in county staff, and for sleeping on the job. Seals had said that his firing was illegal and that it was a retaliation for raising ethical questions about council members.