March | April 2017



South Carolina Expects to See Boost in Job Creation

South Carolina could see an increase in manufacturing jobs in 2013, the Greenville News reported in March.  In the past year, manufacturing companies bolstered the state’s employment rate and economists speculate that health care and construction industries also will provide momentum this year.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate saw an uptick in January, the same as the national average.
Employers in the state added 26,840  jobs within the past year.  The state’s Department of Employment and Workforce said the unemployment rate rose from  8.6 percent in December to 8.7 percent in January.  The agency reported that nonfarm jobs in the state were up 31,100 in 2012, with leisure and hospitality,  trade, transportation and utilities, and government sectors leading the way with 9,800, 6,900 and 6,500 additional jobs respectively.
According to Department of Employment and Workforce officials, the leading sectors of economic activity include professional and business services, trade, health care, education, government and tourism.
Job creation is expected to grow 1.2 percent in 2013, according to forecasts presented in December by Doug Woodward and Joseph Von Nessen, economists with the Moore School’s Division of Research at the University of South Carolina.
“Though manufacturing has largely been responsible for South Carolina’s economic recovery, we’ve started to see other industries expand this year and we expect more diverse growth in 2013,” Von Nessen said.
The West Virginia state police recently implemented a policy to permit organizations serving as providers for children, elderly and disabled individuals to directly receive results of FBI background checks.  This update to the state background check system will streamline the process and reduce the potential security risk of individuals tampering with the results, the Charleston Daily Mail reported. The state’s previous background check contractor, MorphoTrust, could only run background checks through the state police system.   
The Virginia General Assembly ended its annual session with the passage of a comprehensive transportation measure  . The new law replaces the 17.5 cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline with a new 3.5 percent wholesale tax on motor fuels. The measure will raise the sales tax on nonfood merchandise from 5 percent to 5.3 percent and allocate more revenue to transportation instead of other services, according to The Washington Post.     
Two prisons in south Texas—the 2,800-convict Stiles Unit and the 2,700-inmate McConnell Unit—are using new technology to block the use of contraband cell phones by inmates, according to the Austin-American Statesman. The newly installed systems intercept all phone calls made to and from the facilities, and only allow a connection for preselected numbers. The private firm that operates the pay phones in state prisons paid the $1 million installation costs, officials said.
During a weeklong tour of Asia, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed trade agreements worth $1.9 billion with the nations of Taiwan and South Korea, according to The Missourian. In Taiwan, the agreements comprised $500 million with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and $200 million with the Taiwan Feed Industry Association. In Korea, the Korea International Trade Association, the Korea-U.S. Economic Council and the Korea Importers Association will partner with Missouri companies to bring their products overseas.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in March signed legislation to consolidate several law enforcement agencies to bring greater efficiency, coordination and economies of scale to the system,The Montgomery Advertiser reported. The bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, created an Alabama State Law Enforcement Agency directed by a cabinet-level secretary and divided into the Department of Public Safety and State Bureau of Investigations. The investigation units and law enforcement divisions of several state departments will be moved into the new agency.