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Stand on the scales, track your steps and count your calories. Advice for anyone looking to get healthier follows a common theme – you’ve got to measure your results and do it consistently. The Charleston Metro region follows the same advice with our economy.
The 2017 Regional Economic Scorecard, released jointly by the Chamber and the Regional Development Alliance, was unveiled earlier this week. Now in its seventh year, this publication is the definitive, data-packed, clear-eyed look at how our three-county region stacks up on key economic indicators in comparison to eight competitive markets.
Many of the stats are worth celebrating: like the Charleston region ranking second among our peers for percent of adults with a high school degree or third in percent of gross regional product generated from exports. Some are sobering: like trailing the pack on the number of patents issued and facing worse traffic congestion than regions with twice as many residents.
A new section added this year – economic equity – has things to both cheer and work on. On the positive side, Black and Hispanic Charlestonians have seen double-digit increases in employment rates and median wages since 2010. Despite those gains, median earnings for both racial groups still trail median earnings for Whites by a significant margin.
Why collect and publish all of this comparative economic data? Just like your health, you have to know your baseline and performance trends to improve.