SC economists predict turnaround in 2012

COLUMBIA (WACH) - It TMs back to the future for South Carolina. Manufacturing jobs that once fueled the state's economy are making a comeback.

"This coming at a time when a lot of states have given up on manufacturing, thinking, we'll never do this, we'll never make things in America anymore, said Dr. Douglas Woodward.

The University of South Carolina economics professor adds, the recent additions of Boeing, Bridgestone and, Continental Tire to our state is proof manufacturing jobs are alive and well.

Woodward and Research Economist Joseph Von Nesson predict a 2% gain in total employment growth in South Carolina for 2012, up a percent from 2011.

"Since the unemployment rate is both the function of total employment and the size of the labor force, we're not expecting job growth to be so high, that it will not necessarily outpace the growth in the labor force, said Von Nesson.

Both economists say the fate of new industries in South Carolina will depend on how fast the national and world economy recovers.

"Why is BMW doing well in South Carolina?" asks Woodward. Because they've got demand for their product. It TMs very successful around the world; they TMre not just dependent on the United States."

Woodward and Von Nesson caution South Carolina TMs economic recovery is fragile and volatility on Wall Street, the European debt crisis, and the upcoming presidential election could jeopardize that recovery.