Holiday Roads Expect Lowest Gas Prices of the Year

South Carolina’s average price for a gallon of gas is $2 per gallon entering this 10-day holiday travel season through New Year’s Day. That is about 60 cents lower than 2018’s peak and the lowest since August 2017, according Gas Buddy, and the price-tracking site expects the price to keep going down until Christmas Day. AAA Carolinas predicts that one-third of the state will be on the move, with 1.35 million travelling by car and 90,000 in the air.

SC was 9th-Fastest Growing State for 2017-18

South Carolina had a year-to-year increase of 62,908 residents to bring the state’s total population to 5,084,127 for the period ending July 1, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That made SC the 9th-fastest growing state in terms of both numeric growth (ahead of Nevada) and percentage growth (tied at 1.3% with Texas and ahead of North Carolina). The nation’s overall population grew by 0.6%, and because of the survey’s July 1 cutoff date it does not account for people displaced by hurricanes Florence and Michael.

Here are Next Steps After PSC’s OK for Dominion to Purchase SCANA

The S.C. Public Service Commission has ruled to allow Virginia-based Dominion Energy to purchase SCANA, but there are still story lines to follow before the acquisition of the Cayce-based power company. There is still the possibility that consumer and environmental groups can appeal to the state Supreme Court. Dominion has a right to review and reject the PSC’s upcoming written order, although the State newspaper writes, “It’s a safe bet Dominion won’t walk away at this point.”

Local Governments Seek Bigger Voice for Disaster Relief Spending

At a funding discussion meeting at the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office, some elected officials came away asking why disaster relief money can’t be directed toward local government who can build drainage and infrastructure to mitigate future damage. “If you can do storm water work, drainage work, you can help some of these other low to moderate homes that aren’t getting any of this other money. We’ve got houses that are flooding out every time,” Sumter mayor Joseph McElveen said. Gov. Henry McMaster has asked the Federal government for $435 million in Community Development Block Grant Relief, but that money is often distributed by Housing Urban Development toward new home construction. The SCDRO over the past three years has built 1,600 homes for those affected by storm damage and flooding.

Jobs for 626 North Charleston Call Center Workers Shifted to Caribbean

A global hospitality company shuttered its North Charleston reservation hub in November and left 626 employees out of work as those jobs were relocated to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. InterContinental Hotels Group, which opened its Festival Centre call center in 1997, blamed “staffing challenges” such as employee turnover and a tight labor market when it announced the move in June, and it is now considered one of the largest Charleston-area layoffs in years. For its “rapid response” displaced worker program, the employment agency SC Works Trident said it enrolled 225 ex-IHG workers, which eclipses what the organization usually enrolls in one year. The workers are also eligible Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits of training, and allowances for relocation and job seeking because the jobs were moved out of the country.

South State Bank CEO Rings Nasdaq Opening Bell

The CEO of Columbia-based South State Bank rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City on Dec. 12. Robert Hill Jr. and his colleagues at the state’s largest homegrown bank later took part in a 5-hour investment day with financial analysts. Nasdaq has listed South State Corp. for 15 years, and its shares closed 1% higher by the end of the day at $65.45.