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Charleston Business

Chamber Forecast Calls For Strong Regional Growth

Mar 21, 2018 03:02PM ● By Kathleen Maris

The Charleston Metro Chamber presented the 2018 Economic Forecast at their 27th Annual Economic Outlook Conference. The forecast for the Charleston region is a partnership project between the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Business Research and the College of Charleston’s School of Business.

"Through their expertise of the local market and work with the computer model, the Economic Outlook Board makes the forecast relevant and usable to the public," said Mary Graham, chief strategy officer for the Charleston Metro Chamber. "Last year, 80 percent of our Forecast was correct and we are hoping for the same or better results this year."

Highlights from the 2018 Economic Forecast:

  • Economic Forecast indicates continued strong growth across the region. The national, state, and local economies are all expected to grow over the next 18 to 24 months, with national GDP growth projected at some of the strongest rates in years.
  • Locally, the region continues to grow and attract major industry, particularly in the Advanced Manufacturing, Logistics and Transportation, Life Sciences, and IT sectors.
  • The Economic Outlook Board does not foresee anything on the horizon to slow the job and population growth fueling the local region’s economy for the next two years.
  • There is a growing awareness of the link between congestion, jobs, and housing. Now the region’s challenge is implementing solutions to solve them.
The key to the success of the annual forecast has been the Economic Outlook Board, whose collective insight provides information that may not be picked up in a statistical analysis of the data. The Board often has information on future developments that no statistical model would capture. Furthermore, the data is typically reported in a lag – the Economic Outlook Board reviews the statistical forecast and adds the “real-time, real-knowledge” insight into the actual performance of the local economy.

The forecast is based upon historical data tracked and collected by the Chamber’s Center for Business Research. Data on each of the key economic indicators that drive the region’s economy are collected and provided to the College of Charleston’s School of Business and the data is reviewed by Dr. Frank Hefner. Using an econometric forecasting model, a projection for each indicator is developed. The model also forecasts national indicators.