Good News, By the Numbers

A round up of recent news items reminds us that good data drives economics, and vice versa. And Charleston’s regional economy continues to spin off some impressive numbers that indicate a healthy outlook for the future.

Air India officials are expected to arrive in North Charleston next month to test, and then take off in one of the four Boeing 787s being constructed here. As reported by FlightglobalAir writer John Croft, Boeing’s local operations are presently committed to ultimately building 10 mid-sections and 10 aft sections, plus three complete aircraft, per month.

Local managers believe the 6,000 + workers here are up to the task. Notes Boeing’s local assembly and delivery manager, Marco Cavazzoni: the Charleston plant “has potential for expansion if we need to do that.”  And at a price somewhere north of $150 million per plane, an increase in production here sounds pretty good for the Charleston region.

Meanwhile, progress on Clemson University’s $98 million Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility reached a milestone with the pouring of the foundation for the smaller, 7.5-megawatt test rig. Secured with enough concrete to “fill the trunks of more than 1,000 Chevy Impalas,” the university offers a live webcam of the construction.

As we have come to learn, wind turbines are massive machines. Therefore, it takes a generous foundation to secure them. Translation: enough concrete to fill a channel 25 feet wide by 86 feet long by 10 feet deep, all resting on 75 steel piles.  When completed in early 2013, the facility will have the capability to fully-test turbines in the 5-15 megawatt range, making the Clemson facility the largest scale operation of its kind in the world.

And finally, one of the bedrock sectors of our regional economy continues to impress, based on recent hotel occupancy rates. According to the Office of Tourism at the College of Charleston School of Business,  April occupancy in Charleston County reached 85 percent; the third largest monthly rate ever. In all, nearly 92% of rooms on the peninsula were filled, well in advance of our traditional busy summer season.

All in all, a pretty positive look at the current situation – and exciting data for a healthy future.

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