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Good afternoon. The anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan's Island, known as Carolina Day, is Friday. Fort Moultrie will recognize the day with special programs and free admission Saturday. In preparation, check out this piece on the mystery of how enslaved ship-pilots affected the battle's outcome.
THE ONE TO WATCH: Carolinas are still struggling to find talent
Business conditions in the Carolinas strengthened this month, according to a report released today from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The general conditions index rose from 10 last month to 18.
Survey results also showed positive growth in employment and wages during June, but employers continue to have difficulty finding workers with necessary skills. This month's index for the availability of skilled workers in the Carolinas was the lowest on record, according to the report.
The indexes are equal to the percentage of firms that reported increases in a category minus the firms that reported decreases. All of the businesses surveyed are located in either North Carolina or South Carolina.
The availability of skilled workers has been decreasing almost every month this year:
- January: -7
- February: -11
- March: -16
- April: -14
- May: -18
- June: -25
Recent Beige Book reports, which give anecdotal information from firms, have also noted labor force concerns. This month's report found that businesses were having difficulty finding people for a wide variety of positions, including accounting and finance professionals, IT professionals, engineers, health care professionals, electricians and construction workers.
An earlier report found that employers in the Carolinas were starting to offer bonuses to attract and retain workers. The April report said that a Charleston hotel was unable to open many of its rooms due to an inability to find staff.
Survey respondents in Thursday's report also indicated that they expect the issue to continue for at least the next six months.
In Charleston, the need for skilled workers has been particularly highlighted by the city's hotels, restaurants and attractions. At Explore Charleston's annual meeting last week, board chairman and Charlestowne Hotels president Michael Tall reiterated again that finding and retaining workers is the tourism industry's "greatest challenge" and "clearest opportunity."
Taking advantage of that opportunity, he said, means presenting clearly defined career paths to the industry's entry-level workers.
"Otherwise, they'll leave Charleston for cities like Washington, D.C. or Dallas, and we will have lost one of our greatest human assets," Tall said.
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OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS:
- The new Blaze Pizza in Mount Pleasant is offering free pizzas tomorrow.
- Off Track Ice Cream is set to start scooping downtown this Saturday.
- The first of 10 Charleston-area Parker's convenience stores is opening.
- The Players' Pub sports bar at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is now open.
- East Bay True Value Hardware has closed to move to its new location.
- The Sugar Bakeshop on Cannon Street will be under new management.
OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Delta Air Lines is launching nonstop, daily service between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Charleston International on Friday. (Post and Courier)
- A new software problem has been found in the Boeing 737 Max that is likely to further delay the plane's return to flying. (Associated Press)
- The Medical University of South Carolina is suing Medicare over money it says it should be getting to run its pharmacy school. (Post and Courier)
- The Medal of Honor museum project that was originally bound for Patriots Point will either be built in Arlington, Texas or Denver. (Post and Courier)
- Southwest Airlines is the biggest operator of the 737 Max in the U.S. While the jet remains grounded, the airline has had to improvise. (NPR)
SOUND SMART AT WORK:
"Hey boss, did you know the International Longshoremen’s Association Hall on Morrison Drive was designed by Charlestonian Harvey Gantt?"
Many consider the building to be Gantt’s most interesting building in his native city. A plan to sell it is moving forward, despite opposition from union members. If sold, the hall is too young and too far north of the historic district to be protected under the city's preservation laws.
HIRES AND PROMOTIONS:
- Grant Gongloff joined Samet Corp. as project executive.
- The chief revenue officer at Ceterus is now Kyle Johnson.
- Billy Cooke was promoted to vice president at Holder Properties.
- Lou Hammond promoted Kelsey Donnelly to account supervisor.
- The chief operating officer at Imaging Specialists is now Chad Wiggins.
- Edwin Melendez joined Hussey Gay Bell as a senior design technician.
- The executive director at Charleston Legal Access is Lana Kleiman.
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