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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Survey of Business Activity

Dec 29, 2022 11:28AM ● By David Dykes

Manufacturing Activity Improved Modestly in December

Some manufacturing firms in the Fifth District, which includes South Carolina, reported modest improvements in December, according to the most recent survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

The composite manufacturing index climbed into positive territory, increasing from -9 in November to 1 in December. Each of its three component indexes — shipments, new orders and employment — improved, with the index for shipments seeing the most notable increase from -8 in November to 5 in December.

Alongside a slightly positive employment index, the wage index increased notably from 25 to 37 in December, surpassing its October reading of 34. The local business conditions index remained unchanged at -6 in December.

However, a larger portion of firms are pessimistic about local business conditions over the next six months, as the expectations index fell to -20 in December.

The indexes for order backlogs and vendor lead time remained firmly in negative territory, indicating that, on balance, businesses continued to see shrinking backlogs and lead times.

The average growth rates of both prices paid and prices received decreased in December. Expectations for both over the next 12 months also decreased and are much lower than current price trends, according to Richmond Fed officials.

Meanwhile, Fifth District service sector activity softened further in December, according to the most recent survey by the Richmond Fed.

The revenues and demand indexes fell to −12 and −8, moving deeper into negative territory. Firms' expectations for revenues and demand over the next six months suggest little to no change from current levels.

Firms' assessments of current and anticipated local business conditions also remained low. Still, firms continued to report increases in capital spending and equipment and software spending, although the services expenditures index dipped into negative territory.

A larger share of firms reported decreases in their number of employees than increases in December. Their ability to find workers with the necessary skills also deteriorated slightly compared to last month.

However, the expectations index for labor availability over the next six months saw a modest increase in December. Firms continued to increase wages and expect further wage increases in the near term.

Growth in prices paid decreased somewhat in December, while growth in prices received increased slightly. Firms expect both to moderate over the coming year.

National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees Encourages Financial Literacy in New Year

Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting finances in order, but most people don’t know where to start. 

The National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees (NACTT), whose corporate office is in Columbia, S.C., encourages people to begin with financial education from reputable resources such as its public education website,

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, over 2.8 million individuals filed for a fresh financial start through bankruptcy during the past five years. Federal assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic helped many families through tough times.

Now that those programs have ended, many people are facing increased financial stress and searching for solutions.

“As a bankruptcy trustee, I see people whose financial situation could have been improved if they had simply known who to contact. Often a phone call to the correct agency or creditor could put the person on a path that is financially feasible for their circumstance,” said Russell Simon, NACTT President and Chapter 13 Trustee, Swansea, IL.

“ features information that we know can help every American live a financially stable life.”

The NACTT launched in June of 2022 to provide information on personal finance and bankruptcy from a trustworthy source in a single location.

The website features a collection of articles and resources for those who may be facing financial challenges or would like to learn how to better navigate their fiscal future.

BFine stands for the Bankruptcy and Finance Information Network Exchange and emphasizes that even in the toughest times, things will Be Fine with the guidance of financial experts. features a rotating collection of articles related to budgeting, credit, loans and financial literacy as well as information on consumer bankruptcy and legal topics surrounding finance.

Consumers looking for assistance with financial difficulties will find links on the “Resource” tab to connect with professionals who may be able to provide assistance.

Founded in 1965, the National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees is a membership association comprised of more than 1,000 trustees, attorneys, certified public accountants, and other individuals interested in insolvency-related issues.

South Carolina Christian Foundation Gifts $225K to Upstate Ministries 

South Carolina Christian Foundation (SCCF), a community foundation devoted to Biblical philanthropy, presented grants to 52 ministries in Upstate counties including York, Chester, Spartanburg, Cherokee, Greenville, Anderson, and Oconee counties.

The grants are part of SCCF’s Community Trust Fund in which clients and donors collectively give to support ministries statewide that serve the most vulnerable population in South Carolina.

Funding for 2022 supported children’s evangelism, equipping and discipleship, addiction and recovery, plus basic needs. This year’s recipients include. 

Spartanburg County

SonShine Club, a ministry providing worship, teaching, and fellowship for those with special needs and their caregivers.

A Light Unto My Path, a ministry that provides a safe sober living home for women to learn and grow spiritually through the 12 steps of recover in a community of fellowship.

Ruth’s Gleanings, an organization that provides fresh and healthy food to people in nutritional poverty through its gleaning program and FoodShare Spartanburg.

Christopher’s Hope Foundation, an independent teen suicide awareness and prevention ministry collaborating with local public schools to train students to be first responders.

The Prodigal’s Home, a residential drug rehabilitation facility in Jonesville, S.C. 

Additional ministries include School Ministries of Spartanburg, Hope Remains Ranch, CRU, Evans Training Center, JUMPSTART, Angels Charge Ministry, Southeastern Children’s Home, C4 Ministries, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Go Forth Recovery, Mobile Meals, The Carpenter’s Table, and the Middle Tyger Community Center.

Greenville County


LEAD Collective, a Gospel-centric inner-city ministry that equips and elevates leaders in the way of Jesus from under-resourced communities in Greenville.

David’s Table, a ministry that supports adults with disabilities and their families. 

The Potter’s Place, a Ministry to Ministries organization that provides rest and renewal for those in ministry.

3GEN, an outreach ministry that equips men, strengthens families, and transforms generations.

Christ Central Ministries (Oconee), a ministry that provides residential and programmatic care for men overcoming drug and alcohol addiction.

Additional ministries include Calvary Home for Children, Sammy’s Mission, Fountain Inn Kid Enrichment (FIKE) Center, Homes of Hope, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Christian Learning Center, Band of Brothers Prison Ministry, His Turn Ministries, Switch, The River Upstate, Elder Source Senior Ministries, and Courageous.


York County


Tender Hearts Ministries, a Christian community center providing a variety of resources to meet basic needs in the impoverished areas of York and Chester counties.

Bethel Men’s Shelter, a Gospel-centered homeless shelter for men providing housing, meals and skill straining while evangelizing and discipling.

Grounds of Grace, a women’s ministry seeking to help those struggling to get out of poverty and on the road to wholeness, health, and productivity.

Reformed University Fellowship, a campus ministry at Winthrop University that connects Biblical truth with questions faced by college students.

School Ministries of Rock Hill, a Release Time Education ministry teaching the Bible during school time.

Additional ministries include The Life House Women’s Shelter, Camp Canaan, Westminster Catawba Christian School, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Pathways Community Center, Bright Side Youth Ranch, Biblical Studies Release Time, and Fullife Hope Center.

Established in 1997, South Carolina Christian Foundation (SCCF) was founded by a group of Spartanburg businessmen who envisioned philanthropy based on a Biblical view of generosity and raising awareness of local ministries.

Its special initiatives include Circle 555, a Christian women’s giving circle, and Ministry to Ministries, an initiative that addresses the spiritual and emotional needs that come with ministry leadership.

Headquartered in Spartanburg, S.C., South Carolina Christian Foundation has locations in Greenville and York counties, and the Grand Strand area.

To learn more, go to

It’s That Time Of Year Again

The Goodfellows Club is in full swing this Christmas season.

In 1921 a group of men decided to help the less fortunate in our area and the Goodfellows Club was born.

In 1925 The James F. Daniel, Jr. Post 3 of The American Legion adopted the program, and this is the Legion’s 98th year.

Members of Post 3 operate the program through donations from the community and volunteer their time to pack and distribute food boxes.

With the help of others, including the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the Boy Scouts, Trail Life and community volunteers, the program has succeeded.

But American Legion officials ask for tax-deductible donations to help maintain the vital service to the community and its less-fortunate neighbors.

Donations may be mailed to:  

Goodfellows Club

The American Legion

PO Box 133

Greenville, SC 29602.

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