Posted By Alan Donald @ Feb 3rd 2019 6:00pm In: Charleston

SC Economy

Charleston's Regional Economy Ranked 16th Best in Nation

The Milken Institute, a think tank based in Santa Monica, California, has ranked the Charleston-North Charleston area economy 16th among the nation’s 200 largest metro areas in 2018, up from 22nd in 2017, and considers our area to be less vulnerable to a potential national downturn.  Leading factors cited include our diverse economic base, cargo growth at the port, over $1.6 billion in auto-related manufacturing investment, growth in the high-tech sector, strong population and income growth, and well-established infrastructure.  The main liability it identifies is the U.S.-China trade war which could be detrimental to our export-oriented manufacturing sectors.  However, views are mixed among local economic analysts, with some pointing to factors which could lead to a recession as well as downsides of this economic growth such as housing affordability.  Milken's “Best-Performing Cities” report is available here and recent coverage by The Post and Courier can be found here.

526 Extension onto James and Johns Islands To Proceed

I-526 Extension ProposalCharleston County Council voted in early January to approve funding of this infrastructure completion project as part of a new agreement with the State Infrastructure Bank.  The project has been contentious among Charleston County residents, with supporters saying it will improve commute times and traffic congestion in West Ashley and critics raising financial, environmental and livability concerns.  Read more here.

Mount Pleasant Limits Growth, Imposes Permit Restrictions

Mount Pleasant, the state’s 4th largest municipality, recently adopted controversial limits on new home construction, cutting it by roughly one-third compared to recent years and effective immediately.  While this has the support of many residents, who have been concerned with the town's rapid growth and associated increase in traffic congestion and diminished quality of life, the home construction and real estate industry is generally opposed.  This follows other measures also imposed recently to slow construction and population growth and try to avert the need for Town Council to raise property taxes in order to meet infrastructure and service demands or reduce current levels of service.  Read more here.

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