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SCIWAY News No. 37 – May 2002

Also see: Previous Issues of SCIWAY News

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In This Issue

  1. Post Job Ads and Resumes on SCJobsNow for Free
  2. New and Notable South Carolina Web Sites
  3. The Palmetto Pay Gap: SC Wages Compared with NC, GA, and the US
  4. Who in South Carolina Makes the Most Money ... and the Least?
  5. Why We Make Less ... and Why It Matters
  6. New SCIWAY Sponsors
  7. Upcoming SC Festivals and Events
  8. SC Spotlight: Beaufort and Beaufort County


If you've ever had a hard time finding a job or finding the right person for a position, I think you're going to like our new South Carolina employment information service, SCJobsNow.

SCJobsNow is a statewide web site where employers can post information about job openings, and job seekers can post their resumes.

Searching for jobs will always be free, and posting job ads will be free until July 1. After that employers can post ads for a flat fee of $30 for 30 days ... or even less with one of our "Ad Packs."

Job seekers can post up to three resumes for free. Additional resume postings cost $10 per resume.

Our goal is to make it easier for South Carolinians to find jobs that match their strengths ... and easier for employers to find workers who meet their needs. We also believe that SCJobsNow's statewide scope will help businesses and organizations in smaller towns attract workers with hard-to-find skills.

I would like to thank Don Carlton of Charleston for his help in implementing SCJobsNow. Without Don's expertise and problem-solving abilities, this web site would not be online today.

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Abbeville Visitors' Center - good info about all of Abbeville County - site no longer exists

Charleston Fishing Charters and Guides - inshore and offshore

Chester County Economic Development Office - helpful info for businesses

Congressman Joe Wilson - 2nd District - recently elected

Morris Island Lighthouse to be "lighted" during Spoleto - May 10-June 9

MUSC Children's Hospital - you can ask pediatric health questions online

SCALE - a six-acre model of South Carolina in Spartanburg County - site no longer exists

6th Regiment - Civil War reenactors from Rock Hill, Chester, and Fort Mill

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In December of 1999 SCIWAY News published an article and two graphs which showed that the per capita personal income of South Carolinians was significantly lower than the income of North Carolina and Georgia residents ... and that we have been steadily losing ground to both of these states and the US as a whole since the 1980s. You can find this article and the updated graphs at For the past two years, SCIway has been assembling a good bit of data about how South Carolina is progressing. This month we will focus on wages and salaries, the main component of personal income.

How much do working South Carolinians make compared with our two neighboring states and Americans in general? Less. A lot less.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes average annual wage estimates for 22 major occupational groups. Wages are straight pay. They do not include overtime, vacation and sick leave pay, or benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.

South Carolina wages are lower than NC and GA wages in 15 of the 22 occupational groups ... and $2,000 to $3,000 lower overall. Multiply these numbers by 1.8 million SC workers, and you'll see that the SC-NC pay gap is $3.6 billion a year and the SC-GA gap is $5.4 billion.

Only one group of South Carolinians makes significantly more money than their NC and GA counterparts: Architects and Engineers.

Both higher and lower level South Carolina healthcare workers make slightly more than NC and GA healthcare workers.

At first, the average wage of SC production workers (mostly manufacturing) also looks like a bright spot. But when you look at average hourly "earnings" for manufacturing workers from 1950 to 2001, the shine disappears.

Unlike wage data, earnings data excludes first-line supervisors and managers and includes sick leave and vacation pay as well as overtime pay. When these factors are taken into account, South Carolina manufacturing workers make $2.00 an hour less than their North Carolina and Georgia counterparts. And as the "percent" graph shows, the average earnings of South Carolina manufacturing workers relative to NC and GA workers has declined steeply since 1990.


As our "dollars" wage table shows, only three South Carolina occupational groups receive average annual wages greater than $50,000: managers and executives, architecture and engineering, and legal workers.

Four groups make less than $20,000 a year: healthcare aides and assistants, personal care providers, building and grounds workers, and food preparers and servers.

However, when we look at how much South Carolina workers make relative to average US wages, the top groups are different:

  • Farming, Fishing, and Forestry
  • Architecture and Engineering
  • Healthcare Practitioners, Technologists, and Technicians
  • Production Workers (again, earnings tell a different story)
  • Healthcare Aides and Assistants
And the bottom groups are really different:
  • Business and Financial Operations
  • Managers and Executives
  • Construction and Skilled Trades
  • Fire, Police, Corrections, and Security
  • Legal
We will explore the wage data in greater depth in future issues of SCIWAY News, as it is rich in insights. For example, South Carolina lawyers actually make slightly more than Georgia lawyers, but SC legal paraprofessionals make $2,500 less a year than Georgia paraprofessionals.

Most of the data summarized in this article was collected by Erica Larsh of James Island, and the graphs were created by Kasey Briggs of Charleston. I appreciate the thought and care both put into this work.

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I'm not an economist, but it seems to me there are at least seven logically POSSIBLE reasons why South Carolinians make less money than Georgians, North Carolinians, and most other Americans:
  1. It costs less to live in South Carolina, so workers need less money.

  2. South Carolinians work fewer hours a week and thus earn less money.

  3. South Carolina workers are less productive, so employers can't afford to pay employees as much.

  4. Fewer South Carolina workers are in labor unions, so employees are less able to promote their economic interests.

  5. A larger portion of SC jobs are in lower paying occupations, industries, and types of businesses.

  6. South Carolina has fewer corporate headquarters, where the highest paying jobs are usually located.

  7. South Carolina employers simply pay their employees less.
In the next issues of SCIWAY News, we will try to find out which of these explanations hold water.

Whatever we learn, it matters. Every year people who have made more money in other states are moving to South Carolina and buying real estate at prices most South Carolinians can't afford ... and raising real estate taxes to a level many can't pay.

(Our lower incomes are not the fault of those who are moving to South Carolina. We applaud their economic success and appreciate their good judgment.)

At the same time tens of thousands of working South Carolinians don't make enough money to pay for the basic necessities of life ... and for hundreds of thousands, health care and health insurance are unaffordable luxuries.

Then there are our children and grandchildren. An increasing number of them will likely leave South Carolina. They can make more money in other states ... have more opportunities for advancement ... and in many cases buy nicer homes for less money.

I hope many of you are as concerned about the "Palmetto Pay Gap" as I am.

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Capstone Financial Group - Hilton Head Island - investment banking firm

Charleston Regional Development Alliance - Discover the advantages

Russell Carson - Exit Sandlapper Realty - Helping Columbia Home Buyers - site no longer exists

South Carolina Student Loan - the only statewide non-profit education lender

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For an annual calendar of South Carolina festivals, conferences, and other events, please see https://www.sciway.net/calendar.html.

Myrtle Beach Bike Week and Spring Rally - May 10-19

Jubilee Arts Festival - Bennettsville - May 11

Midlands Intertribal Pow Wow - Columbia - May 17-19

FoxTrot Festival - Marion - May 18

Blue Crab Festival - Little River - May 18-19

Sculpture in the South - Summerville - May 18-19

Iris Festival - Sumter - May 23-26

Catfish Feastival - Ware Shoals - May 24-25

Plum Hollow Alternative Bluegrass Festival - Campobello - May 24-25

Piccolo Spoleto - Charleston - local arts festival - May 24-Jun 9

L'Organo - Charleston - Piccolo Spoleto organ series - May 25-Jun 9

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Last month my daughter Julia and I spent four genuinely delightful days in downtown Beaufort. This area has somehow managed to maintain a tranquil, village-like atmosphere that is a pleasure to soak in. I was also impressed by its diversity: large and small homes jumbled on the same streets ... black and white neighborhoods and churches side by side.

However, my favorite part of Beaufort is its shady waterfront park, which stretches along the Beaufort River for about half a mile. It is loaded with live oaks, crepe myrtles, benches, and swings -- and its landward side is protected by good restaurants and ice cream shops. I could camp out there a long time!

47th Annual Beaufort Water Festival - July 12-21

Beaufort Arsenal Museum

Marine Corps Air Station

Parish Church of Saint Helena - founded in 1712

SCIWAY's Directory of Beaufort Web Sites - many more links

The City of Beaufort is the county seat of BEAUFORT COUNTY, where South Carolina's first European settlements were located. In French "beau" means beautiful, handsome, lovely, or fine ... and after even the shortest visit, you'll know that both the city and the county of Beaufort are aptly named. (Ironically, both are actually named for an Englishman, Henry Somerset, the Second Duke of Beaufort, who pronounced his name "BOH-fert," as in bow and arrow and Beaufort, North Carolina.)

Beaufort Arts Council

Beaufort County Public Library - impressive web site, helpful staff

Penn Center - at the heart of Gullah culture - St Helena Island

SCIWAY's Directory of Beaufort County Web Sites - many more links

The next issue of SCIWAY News will spotlight the City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg County. If you know of a notable area web site that SCIway doesn't yet link to, please send its address to service@sciway.net. Business listings cost $60 a year.

Rod Welch
James Island, SC Return to Table of Contents

Copyright 2002 SCIway, LLC. "SCIWAY News"(TM) is written by Rod Welch of James Island – with a lot of help from people throughout South Carolina. ISSN: 1527-3903. Direct circulation: 52,000+

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SCIway, pronounced "sky-way," is an acronym for South Carolina Information Highway.


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