Press Releases

Rice Field Hearing Explores Solutions to Rural Unemployment

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Dillon, SC, January 24, 2014 | comments

The Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, chaired by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), today held a field hearing in Dillon, South Carolina, titled Getting Rural America Back to Work:  Solutions to Lower Unemployment.

“Today’s hearing provided for a constructive discussion with economic leaders in South Carolina on job creation and the economy of rural communities, many of which have been left behind in our nation’s lukewarm recovery,” said Chairman Rice. “Unemployment in South Carolina, and in my district especially, differs significantly from county to county with a particular disparity between urban areas and rural areas. The testimony we heard today reaffirmed my belief that federal regulations and high taxes not only harm small businesses, but also place rural economies at a drastic disadvantage.”

The disparity of economic growth between urban and rural communities can be found in various states across America. A report by the National Association of Counties shows that about half of the nation’s counties are still short of their pre-recession economic output. 

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

Chuck Bundy, Deputy Director, Small Business and Existing Industry, South Carolina Department of Commerce, Columbia, SC said, “The regulatory burden on all small businesses is significant; all federal agencies should continue to examine their regulations for adverse impact on small business. The frequent unintended consequence of regulations can affect rural small business in particular.”

Jeff McKay, Executive Director, North Eastern Strategic Alliance, Florence, SC said, “Access to capital, especially for small-rural businesses must be made available. Currently, regulations, both new and revised, hinder the loan process for many small banks, leaving only the larger banks as a source for capital. New and innovative programs in rural areas could spur new business opportunities.”

Richard Kaglic, Regional Economist, Federal Bank of Richmond, Charlotte, NC said, “…the nation’s unemployment rate is currently at its lowest point since October 2008. Yet it’s still more than 2 percent higher than it was prior to the onset of the downturn, and other measures of duress in the labor markets (the incidence of long-term unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, discouraged workers, etc.) remain elevated. Moreover, there has been a disconcerting trend toward lower labor force participation. In fact, the nation’s labor force participation rate continued to fall even after the recovery began and today remains near the lowest it has been since the late 1970s. In South Carolina, similar trends have been evident and, most recently, even more pronounced.”



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