The economic situation continued to improve in Berkeley County in 2012, Supervisor Dan Davis said Friday.

“We are blessed and that’s a fact,” he said at this annual State of the County address at a Berkeley Chamber of Commerce breakfast. As he did last year, Davis focused on financial management, economic development and ongoing green energy efforts.

In 2012, the county saw “an uptick” in activity, he said. Housing starts were up 7 percent, the county decreased its debt ratio, and more businesses located in the county. In 2011, the county brought in seven new industries for a total of 495 jobs; last year, that increased to 12 new industries with 638 new jobs.

Additionally, Davis said the penny sales tax program, which voters passed in November 2008, has financed several highway, road, bridge and other transportation-related projects. By July it will have raised about $72 million, but it has a seven-year ending point.

“It’s going to come up for renewal in a few years (and) I want to keep reminding you of how beneficial it has been because we have got to renew that program,” Davis said.

Additionally, the county last year set aside money to finance the new interchange on Interstate 26 between exits 199 (Summerville) and 194 (Jedburg).

“Probably the most exciting thing to happen in Berkeley County over the past many, many years is the I-26 improvements,” he said.

Construction on the interchange should begin in 2014 and is expected to take up to two years, but in the meantime, other road improvements are under way in the area and development is starting to take place.

Davis’ talk will be available next week on the county’s website, berkeleycountysc.gov.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.