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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Economic Outlook

Nov 01, 2022 01:10PM ● By David Dykes

State's Leading Economic Indicators Fall

The South Carolina Leading Index (SCLI) fell in September to a value (following revisions) of 102.51, according to the state Department of Commerce.

SCLI metrics were mixed in September.

Unemployment claims were 12.0 percent lower than in August. The number of issued housing permits fell 15.6 percent month-over-month while valuation for the permits fell 12.8 percent.

Average weekly manufacturing hours were unchanged. The Dow Jones Composite Average was down 10.5 percent.

The Conference Board's national Leading Economic Index decreased in September, following revisions, to 115.9. The Conference Board notes the increasing possibility of a recession by the end of the year.

South Carolina’s total non-seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment fell by 3,900 net jobs to 2,239,900 in September, which was 0.2 percent lower than August numbers but 4.3 percent higher than one year ago.

Sectors reporting net job gains for the month included Government (12,300); Educational and Health Services (1,500); Professional and Business Services (1,300); and Information (500).

Net job losses were reported in the Leisure and Hospitality (-11,200); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (- 5,000); Construction (-2,200); Manufacturing (-500); Other Services (-300); and Finance (-100). Natural Resources and Mining had no net change month-over-month. Compared to one year ago, the state economy added 92,300 net nonfarm jobs.

The average number of initial reported claims for unemployment insurance in the state decreased in September. The average for the month was 1,944 weekly initial claims, down 12.0 percent month-over-month.

In September, the number of building permits issued in South Carolina for new residential construction fell 15.6 percent to 3,204. This figure was down 21.9 percent from one year ago. Valuation for the permits fell 12.8 percent month-over-month and was 9.3 percent lower than one year ago.

Total closings were down 7.5 percent compared to August, while the median sales price was up 1.4 percent. Total closings fell across the six MSAs, with Florence reporting the steepest decline (-15.0 percent).

Median sales price rose in four of the MSAs, with Florence reporting the greatest increase at 15.8 percent.

Jaguar Land Rover, Wolfspeed Announce Partnership for Electric Vehicles

Jaguar Land Rover and Wolfspeed Inc. announced a strategic partnership to supply Silicon Carbide semiconductors for next generation electric vehicles, delivering increased powertrain efficiency and extended driving range.

Under its Reimagine strategy, Jaguar Land Rover is transforming to an electric-first business, to become carbon net zero across its supply chain, products, services, and operations by 2039.

Wolfspeed’s advanced Silicon Carbide technology will be used specifically in the vehicles’ inverter, managing the transfer of power from the battery to the electric motors. The first Range Rover vehicles with this advanced technology will be available from 2024, and the new all-electric Jaguar brand the following year.

The partnership builds on Wolfspeed’s existing relationship with the race-winning Jaguar TCS Racing team competing in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, where its advanced Silicon Carbide technology has been used to accelerate on-track efficiency and performance.

The agreement is the latest in Jaguar Land Rover’s program of establishing strategic partnerships with industry leaders for its future modern luxury vehicles: in February 2022, Jaguar Land Rover announced a partnership with NVIDIA focused on software-defined, advanced automated driving systems for next-generation vehicles starting in 2025.

“Wolfspeed is proud to partner with Jaguar Land Rover, supporting its bold commitment to electrify its iconic brands by using Silicon Carbide’s superior performance, efficiency and range,” said Wolfspeed President and CEO Gregg Lowe.

“The energy efficiency of Silicon Carbide will play an essential role as Jaguar Land Rover pursues its own zero carbon goals, and as the world transitions to an all-electric transportation future.”

The partnership agreement sees Jaguar Land Rover participate in the Wolfspeed Assurance of Supply Program, to secure the supply of this technology for future electric vehicle production needs.

This will enable greater visibility and control over Jaguar Land Rover’s future supply chain and is key to the new value chain approach of the company’s operations and supply chain under the leadership of Barbara Bergmeier, Executive Director of Industrial Operations.

Wolfspeed’s world leading technology is powering electric propulsion systems across the entire voltage spectrum – from 400V to 800V.

The Silicon Carbide power device solutions will be produced at Wolfspeed’s Mohawk Valley Fab in Marcy, New York, which opened in April 2022 as the world’s largest 200mm Silicon Carbide fabrication facility.

USC Athlete To Unveil Design for Lids, KLUTCH Sports Group Partnership

University of South Carolina basketball player Brea Beal is one of five student-athletes teaming up with global sports retailer Lids to design and produce a new design.

Lids, in partnership with KLUTCH Sports Group, is teaming up with student-athletes on a Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deal.

“To join forces with KLUTCH Sports Group on an innovative partnership for both of our companies is incredibly exciting,” said Lawrence Berger, Co-Founder and Partner at Ames Watson, owner of Lids, and Chairman of FanzzLids Holdings.

“They're the preeminent name in sports representation and the perfect partner for this endeavor. We're proud to have these young men and women, the future of basketball, as part of the Lids family as they excel on and off the court for years to come.”

Each athlete was given the creative freedom to design their own custom embroidery and had the opportunity to work with the Lids design team to bring their personal style to life.

The exclusive product collaboration, which will be available in stores with embroidery machines across the country, goes on sale beginning Nov. 2 with a design by Chris Livingston, a freshman at the University of Kentucky.

Beal, who is a senior on the defending NCAA Champion University of South Carolina Women's Basketball team, will see her design go on sale the week of Nov. 16. She said her embroidery design inspiration is, “Embracing my femininity and athletic ability.”

“We're proud to represent these student athletes as they pursue NIL opportunities across the board,” said Rich Paul, Founder and CEO KLUTCH Sports Group.

“For our first collaboration of the sort to be authentic to the sports world and to do it with a brand as iconic as Lids, we couldn't be prouder. This partnership allows our athletes to showcase and embrace their creativity, while also approaching the business of NIL in a holistic and meaningful way.”

Spartanburg One School District Named Finalist in K-12 Hero Awards

Promethean, a leading global education technology company, has contributed to the successful implementation of technology at Spartanburg School District One since equipping classrooms with innovative interactive panels.

With nearly half of the district's students coming from lower-income families with limited access to technology and devices at home, administrators determined the need to introduce students and teachers to new education technology.

Spartanburg School District One was nominated by Promethean and named a finalist in the 2022 K-12 Hero Awards, which are dedicated to recognizing the innovative contributions of K-12 education professionals.

“We've got several state-mandated, end-of-course tests where we really think we're going to see growth in our numbers because of the tools that the ActivPanel allows us to use,” said Dr. Andrew McMillan, Chapman High Principal. 

“We think we've got a very special thing here, and you can feel it when you walk into our school. It's part of our culture and our climate. And these kinds of tools that we've been blessed with just add to that feeling.”

To achieve the goal of ensuring students are equipped for life beyond high school, Spartanburg administrators are tasked with teaching students the skills needed to be successful post-graduation.

But the district has limited resources to fund the purchase of tools like computers and devices to support that learning.

It forced administrators, like Jimmy Pryor, Assistant Superintendent, Accountability and Technical Services at Spartanburg School District One, to get creative and be strategic about how funding is used. He determined that an interactive panel would enhance learning, facilitate mobility, increase student engagement, and streamline teacher lesson delivery.

Pryor launched a pilot program where educators tested a variety of interactive displays, including the ActivPanel.

The K-12 Hero Awards, created by eSchool Media, were instituted to recognize the country's best examples of K-12 success during the past pandemic-era school year. The 2022 program showcases the dedicated efforts of education professionals across K-12 departments, including IT, curriculum, instruction, and administration.

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