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      CCU's Growth Summit focuses on local economy's rebound

      Speakers at this year's Annual Growth Economic Summit at Coastal Carolina University said some sectors in the Grand Strand economy have been making a strong turn-around since the 2008 recession.

      The speakers explained that a lot of that improvement comes as a result of three things: the housing market, tourism and technology.

      "The downfall was so hard here that when it's coming back up, it's coming back up fast," said Coastal Carolina University research economist Robert Salvino.

      Salvino added that the housing comeback has been happening in the last year with a lot of the resurgence in residential construction.

      Although, he explained, the sector hasn't made a complete turn-around yet.

      "We were a construction heavy economy leading up to the recession and without that construction there," Salvino explained, "that's one reason our job numbers have been so low so once that returns then other things can start to happen."

      Still, some area business owners are reaping the benefits, even in other areas of the economy, like Wendy Cassera, owner of, a tax consulting company based out of Myrtle Beach.

      "Having a real estate market being what it is, especially in a tourist kind of area like this, it really helps my kind of business because people need to have an expert, they need somebody that knows how it's going to effect them in the long run,' she said.

      This makes it easier for Cassera to grow a more stable and permanent base.

      "When you have the stability, when you have the long term, it's a lot easier to give the advice, it's a lot easier to help people."

      Salvino explained that there is one area in the local economy that's still sluggish: spending.

      Because people's paychecks have been so low over the past five years, he says retail spending isn't happening at the level business owners were used to pre-recession.