FLORENCE — South Carolina Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt told a Florence audience this week that 2013 could be a pretty good year, maybe a very good one, when it comes to economic development.
The reason behind Hitt’s thinking?
All the turmoil and uncertainty that’s turned 2012 into kind of a stinker.
“Nobody likes uncertainty,” Hitt told members of the Florence County Economic Development Partnership during the group’s annual luncheon meeting at the Southeastern Institute of Technology. “So everyone’s been holding back, not doing things they know they need to do; not making decisions they know they need to make. That’s understandable and as a result we’ve got about two years of projects queued up statewide, ready for something to happen.
“When all that finally breaks loose — and it will — we might just have some pretty good times around here,” said Hitt.
Later, Hitt said he wanted to make clear that whatever anyone else might have thought of 2012, he thought it “wasn’t a bad year.
“We’re (the commerce department) just saying we think 2013 might be better,” he said.
“We know we’re not going to have every decision go our way. But with so many projects out there, we think we’ll get our share. We do this economic development stuff pretty well.”
Hitt said the job announcements in 2013 likely will be smaller than what the state experienced the past few years. Most projects are expansions, and employers are doing more with fewer employees, or with more technology.
“That shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody,” he said. “That’s just the way it is today. It just means we have to do even more to keep up.”