April 23, 2014

SC unemployment rate drops to lowest level in five years

SCDEW director Cheryl Stanton said the rate was the lowest in five years (FILE)

SCDEW director Cheryl Stanton said the rate was the lowest in five years (FILE)

South Carolina’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 7.9 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August, according to a release from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).

However, the agency did not release the data used to calculate the rates, blaming delays caused by the partial federal government shutdown last month.

The rate was significantly lower than the 9.1 percent reported in September 2012.

“This is great news for South Carolinians because the last time the statewide rate was below 8.0 percent was in September 2008,” said SCDEW executive director Cheryl Stanton saind in a statement. “As South Carolina’s economy continues to recover, DEW is committed to continuing to match job seekers with available jobs and get all South Carolinians good jobs.”

The shutdown blocked access to some Bureau of Labor Statistics data, according to the release. That meant the agency could not release its September data until now. SCDEW said it will release October jobless figures on November 22.

SCDEW did not release numbers on the county level, nor which business sectors did well or lagged. It also did not publish South Carolina’s labor force participation rate for September. That means it’s practically impossible to determine if the decline was due to more people landing jobs or no longer looking for work.

“With over 39,000 jobs created and over $9.6 billion in new investment it’s clear that our economic development efforts are building momentum. South Carolina’s unemployment rate is now at a five year low but we want it even lower and will continue doing everything possible to make that happen,” said Governor Nikki Haley.

Nationally, the September unemployment rate had a slight increase to 7.3 percent from August’s estimate of 7.2 percent.