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Role Reversal: Jobs Picture Better In SC Than NC

Unemployment rates are looking better in both North and South Carolina, but for the first time in eight years, South Carolina now has the lower rate. There's one very important thing South Carolina's economy has that its northern neighbor lacks. "South Carolina has a very major automotive assembly plant sector," notes NC State economist Mike Walden. North Carolina has some auto parts manufacturing, but South Carolina has plants like BMW that actually build cars. "And we've had record percentage increases in sales of cars and vehicles in the nation and we've had the auto companies calling back workers," says Walden. "So I think that could be one factor that South Carolina has an advantage right now over North Carolina." South Carolina also had a large Boeing manufacturing plant open last year, employing hundreds of workers. In November, the state's unemployment rate dipped below North Carolina's for the first time since the spring of 2003. The spread got even wider in December, with South Carolina's unemployment rate at 9.5 percent to North Carolina's 9.9 percent. South Carolina's manufacturing jobs base grew five and a half percent during the last 12 months, while North Carolina's stayed flat.