South Carolina is living up to its reputation as a state that can and will put its people to work, as evidenced by its continuing trend of besting the national unemployment rate, now for the third consecutive month.
The state -- the nation in general -- has not always enjoyed this spate of low unemployment, but the signs of economic recovery are with us. However, that does not signal all is well and good in the Palmetto State and everyone can be at ease. Unemployment is a moving target. Jobs come, jobs go. Industries come, industries go. Businesses open, businesses close.
Which is why it is vitally important efforts toward economic growth remain an ongoing task in every corner of the state. There is no room for “good enough,” because good enough does not truly exist. Sure, in Greenwood alone we have witnessed the opening of retail stores and the arrival of Colgate-Palmolive. Publix will soon open its doors, too. The point is, new jobs are being created, but more are always needed.
Some communities struggle far more than, say, Greenwood. For example, Abbeville County’s Calhoun Falls has been trying to reinvent itself. The Blue Hole project there holds much promise for the community, which could eventually turn the town into a vibrant recreational area. It’s a model “build it and they will come” undertaking. Sure, there is a degree of competition from county to county, but there also exists a regional approach to economic development. Here in the Lakelands, developers know and understand that what benefits one can -- and likely does -- benefit the other. Greenwood Partnership Alliance continues its strong efforts to bring new business and industry to the county, plus it maintains a concerted effort to meet the needs of existing business and industry.

And our counties are a part of TATT -- Ten at the Top -- a conglomerate of 10 Upstate counties that tries to maintain a view from 5,000 feet as opposed to ground level. That view goes well beyond just economic development and jobs, but it is easy to recognize how TATT’s mission goes hand in hand with jobs and how this collaborative effort can work to the benefit of all participating counties.
It reads as follows:
“The mission of Ten at the Top is to foster trust and collaboration through partnerships and cooperation that impacts economic vitality and quality of life across Upstate South Carolina. To accomplish this mission, Ten at the Top focuses on three primary objectives:
• Grow trust and partnerships among elected officials, business & community leaders and residents by initiating, convening and facilitating discussions around key regional issues, challenges and opportunities.
• Identify and promote collaborative efforts that enhance the Upstate’s physical and social infrastructure by encouraging quality growth and supporting economic vitality, natural and cultural resources and quality of life in the region.
• Measure, analyze and report information on the needs and progress of the region on key cross-jurisdictional issues.”
Yes, we can and should be glad to see unemployment numbers are, overall, improved across the state and in the Lakelands counties. But we can and should be glad to know efforts to reduce those figures even more are continuing even in the face of good news.