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2017 SB&D 100: Stack the Deck!

Eight years into this recovery, the South is still dealing.

What can we make of the South’s economy in today’s nutty nut political world? There are signs of weakness and a changing labor landscape, for sure. The South’s gross product by state averaged out to 1.7 percent as a region in the fourth quarter of 2016, and it was predicted to perform a little better in the first quarter of this year. The region’s GDP growth rate topped the nation’s rate of 1.2 percent in the first quarter, yet both rates are nothing to swagger about.

 

Last year, the U.S. economy grew at 1.6 percent according to the Commerce Department. The South grew at 1.5 percent without Texas or Oklahoma contributing much at all due to the downturn in the oil and gas industry last year. Oil and gas has come back to a degree, so the South’s share of GDP should surpass the U.S. this year. Growth in the 2 percent range has been the norm since the end of the recession, and that is not expected to change anytime soon. There are outliers, like Florida, Utah, Texas and Washington, where 3-plus percent growth is currently seen.

 

Another sign that indicates the economy may be waning a bit is that we are seeing new car and light truck sales slow, as well as layoffs in the South’s largest industry sector — automotive. Additionally, worker productivity rates are…Read More

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