SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee

The topics explored by the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee include a number of critical issues relevant to the progress and advancement of the Southern region. As the Southern states continue to diversify their economies, the Committee has studied a number of issues to further its understanding of this diversification process. In addition, the Committee has focused on exploring the role of the arts as a catalyst for economic growth and the fact that a thriving cultural scenario is an important consideration in the relocation and expansion plans of corporations. Such issues as federal transportation plans and their implications for Southern states; competition among states to attract economic investment; attracting and retaining high-tech investment; promoting Southern state exports; high speed rail in the South; promoting biotechnology are recurring topics.


Manly Barton


Vice Chair

Nathaniel Ledbetter


Past Chair

Jeanie Lauer



Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst

Recent Research

Policy Analysis | May 10, 2018

Agriculture Sector's Contribution to State GDP, 2016-2017

Anne Roberts Brody, Policy Analyst

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 2.3 percent nationally between 2016 and 2017. Economic growth was widespread, with 20 of 22 industry groups contributing to the increase. Despite this growth, the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector decreased 9.4 percent nationally – the culmination of five consecutive quarterly declines. While still struggling, states in the Southern region fared better than their Midwestern neighbors, which experienced the sharpest declines. Although the agriculture sector declined in each of the Southern states, only Louisiana experienced an overall decline in real GDP. As Congress continues to draft the 2018 Farm Bill, states reliant on farm economies will be paying close attention to any changes that may revive this important sector.

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Policy Analysis | April 16, 2018

SLC - China Trade Data

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

With the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China have much to lose in the event of prolonged trade disruptions between the two countries. In 2017, the total number of goods traded between the United States and China amounted to approximately $636 billion, a large majority of which consisted of Chinese goods entering the U.S. market.

Southern states rely heavily on China as a major export market, as well as a critical source for many of the goods that are imported into the region. In 2017, nine of the 15 states in the South — including Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina and Missouri — were among the top 20 recipients, nationally, of Chinese goods imported into the United States. Similarly, nine states in the South — including Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida — ranked in the top 20 in the number of goods exported to China.

In the Southern region, exports to China comprised approximately 8.8 percent of the total, with relatively large variations existing among the states. In Alabama and South Carolina, for example, exports to China were 16.7 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively, of all goods exported from those states in 2017. On the other hand, exports to China from Florida and Oklahoma amounted to 3.4 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, of their total. China was the largest export market for two states in the South, Louisiana and South Carolina, and among the top five markets for 11 other states in the region.

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The State of Retail in Southern States
Issue Brief | January 29, 2018

The State of Retail in Southern States

Roger Moore, Policy Analyst

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The retail industry, historically one of the largest and most important drivers of economic growth in the United States, is being challenged by technological advances and shifting consumer habits that are undermining sustained growth across much of the industry. The popularity of online retail — most prominently exemplified by the rise and dominance of Amazon and similar online shopping platforms — coupled with growing preferences for discounted shopping and experiences instead of material purchases, have profound implications for an industry that employs millions of people across the nation. According to many financial experts, the industry is confronting a so-called “retail apocalypse,” characterized by depressed profits, store closures and, in several instances, bankruptcy among some of the nation’s largest, most recognizable retailers.

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More SLC Research into Industry & Commerce

SLC Regional Resource | December 7, 2016

The Case for Cuba

Policy Analysis | January 29, 2016

Vehicle Sales Soar to Record Levels in 2015

SLC Regional Resource | January 12, 2016

Inland Ports and Waterways in the SLC Member States

Policy Analysis | September 10, 2015

Manufacturing Products Top SLC State Exports in 2014

Issue Alert | June 25, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Exports: Latest Trends

SLC Regional Resource | February 27, 2014

Aeronautics in the SLC States: Cleared for Takeoff

SLC Regional Resource | November 19, 2013

Tire Manufacturing: Southern States Roll to the Top

SLC Regional Resource | July 11, 2013

Workforce Development in the SLC States

Policy Analysis | June 8, 2011

Manufacturing Jobs in the South

SLC Special Series Report | June 1, 2010

The Expansion of the Panama Canal and SLC State Ports

Article | July 1, 2008

Auto: The Resilient South

Presentation | April 30, 2004

Ports in the South

SLC Special Series Report | November 1, 2003

The Drive to Move South

SLC Regional Resource | February 1, 2003

Update on Competition in the Telecommunications Industry

Presentation | September 23, 2002

Delivering the Goods: Ports in the South

SLC Regional Resource | June 1, 2002

A Review of Southern States' No-Call Registries

SLC Regional Resource | February 1, 2001

Telecommunications Competition in Southern States

SLC Regional Resource | August 1, 2000

International Trade and Agriculture