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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Monthly Jobs Report

Jun 10, 2024 10:06AM ● By Donna Walker

Report Says 18 Percent of Small Business Owners Plan to Raise Compensation Levels

According to NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a net 18 percent (seasonally adjusted) of small business owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months in May, down three points from last month and the lowest reading since March 2021.


Seasonally adjusted, a net 37 percent of owners reported raising compensation, down one point from April but historically very high.


“An exceptionally high number of small businesses are still struggling to fill open positions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Although plans to increase compensation have fallen, small firms continue in their efforts to attract and retain workers.”


State-specific data is unavailable, but NFIB State Director Ben Homeyer said, “It’s hard for small business owners not to feel discouraged. They want to staff up, but they say it’s tough to find qualified applicants.


It doesn’t help that South Carolina’s workforce participation rate is 57.2 percent, which is well below the national average of 62.7 percent. On top of that, with inflation continuing to affect the price of everything, owners are trying to hold costs down.”


Labor cost reported as the single most important problem for business owners decreased by one point to 10 percent, three points below the highest reading of 13 percent reached in December 2021.


The percent of small business owners reporting labor quality as their top small business operating problem rose one point from April to 20 percent. However, labor quality as small business owners’ top problem has eased considerably over the last two quarters.


Forty-two percent (seasonally adjusted) of small business owners reported job openings they could not fill in May, up two points from April.


A seasonally adjusted net 15 percent of owners plan to create new jobs in the next three months, up three points from April and the highest reading of the year.


Overall, 60 percent of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire in May, up four points from April. Fifty-one percent (85 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-nine percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions and 22 percent reported none.


Thirty-seven percent have openings for skilled workers and 14 percent have openings for unskilled labor. The labor market remains tight, especially in the construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors.

Middleton Place to Hold Juneteenth Honors Luncheon

The 4th annual Lowcountry Juneteenth Week Festival is a celebration of freedom and empowerment, showcasing the contributions and achievements of African Americans in the Lowcountry. 


Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday in 2021, commemorates the date in 1865 that the last group of enslaved Americans learned of the Emancipation Proclamation.


The weeklong event features music, a kids fest, a June 16 parade, and more. Musical performers include SOS Band, Jazz Theory, Black Diamond Band, and more.


On June 18 at noon, the festival will hold its Honors Luncheon event at Middleton Place. This event honors Dr. Millicent E. Brown, a lifelong community advocate and spokesperson for economic, social and educational improvements in exploited neighborhoods and communities of color throughout the South, the nation and the world.


She specializes in ongoing analysis of the modern civil rights movement, and explores social justice dynamics and intersections of race, gender, caste and class in contemporary society.


Brown is co-founder and project director of an oral history initiative to identify the “first children,” like herself, to desegregate previously all-white schools (The Somebody Had to Do It Project). She has held a variety of history and museum related faculty positions and serves as consultant for numerous museums, historic sites and social justice programs in South Carolina and beyond.


For a full schedule of Juneteenth events, visit

Duke Energy Shares Summer Energy Saving Tips

Warmer-than-average temperatures may hit this summer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seasonal temperature outlook. But before summer temperatures soar, Duke Energy is offering ways customers can take control of their energy use.


Customers can better predict what they’ll spend on electricity by reviewing the Usage Alerts that arrive midway through a billing cycle. By having a smart meter and an email address on file, they are automatically enrolled to receive a Usage Alert notification that shows how much electricity they’re using and how much it may cost in time to adjust.


Using the Duke Energy app can track energy usage down to the hour, day or week. The goal is to see when energy use is spiking and adjust habits that may be driving it up.


Duke Energy also offers a variety of programs and incentives to help customers navigate seasonal energy use.


They include:


  • Power Manager: Get rewarded by helping shift energy use away from peak periods. By enrolling one or more home appliances in Power Manager, customers will be supporting clean energy goals.
  • Flex Savings Option: Customers who enroll in the Flex Savings Option can pay lower rates (as compared to the standard residential rate) by shifting their energy use to times of lower demand.
  • High Energy Usage pilot: Income-qualified residential customers who use a lot of energy may be eligible for the High Energy Usage pilot program that offers free energy improvements that can help lower energy use. Upgrades can include air sealing, HVAC, refrigerator or water heater replacement, free lightbulbs, and more. 
  • Home Energy House Call: A free home energy assessment can help customers lower their energy use. Valued at $180, this service helps customers learn how their home uses energy and how they can save.
  • Weatherization Program: Some customers can take advantage of the income-qualified Weatherization Program for single-family and multifamily units to help save money and reduce expenses through the installation of energy conservation measures in their home.

Programs and incentives vary by community. See what savings programs you may be eligible for

TruVista Partners With Fairfield County School District to Create The Village in Winnsboro

TruVista, the telecommunications provider, announced that it has partnered with the Fairfield County School District with its contribution of the construction of a state-of-the-art Technology Center at The Village in Winnsboro, a Community of Fairfield Educators dedicated to supporting Fairfield County educators.


This groundbreaking residential community, spearheaded by the Fairfield County School District Education Foundation, marks a step toward improving teacher recruitment and retention in this rural South Carolina district.


Fairfield County is a rural school district serving approximately 2,500 students with five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Despite the dedication of its 350 certified staff members, 75 percent of whom reside outside of the county, Fairfield County faces ongoing challenges in attracting and retaining qualified teachers.


The Village in Winnsboro aims to address this by offering educators a newly built, affordable residential community.


The Village in Winnsboro is the first initiative of its kind in South Carolina, focusing on creating a residential community for educators within the town of Winnsboro. This project seeks to integrate educators into the community, encouraging them to shop locally and engage more deeply with the community. The ultimate goal is to create a supportive environment that enhances the quality of education by fostering stronger ties between teachers and the community.


As part of the initial phase, 17 homes will be built by August 2024, providing immediate housing for educators. Additionally, nine more lots are available for future expansion. However, due to a lack of funding, purchasing these lots and constructing these homes is not currently feasible.


The Fairfield County School District Education Foundation continues to seek donations and support to realize the full potential of The Village in Winnsboro and to serve the waiting list of teachers for this housing.


TruVista's donation will specifically fund the construction of the Technology Center within The Village, equipping educators with resources and tools to enhance their teaching capabilities.


This Technology Center will serve as a hub for innovation, professional development, and collaboration, providing educators with the necessary support to deliver high-quality education to Fairfield County students.

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