South Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked down last month as the number of people with jobs increased at the same time the state’s overall labor force shrank.
The overall jobless rate among South Carolinians dropped to 5.6 percent in May from 5.8 percent in April, according to data released by the state Department of Employment and Workforce on Friday. That came as the number of people employed increased by nearly 3,000 overall to 2.18 million, while the number of individuals listed as unemployed dropped by nearly 4,500 during the same period.
Also driving the rate lower was a decrease in the labor force, which declined in May by roughly 1,500 people to more than 2.31 million overall.
Nationwide, May’s unemployment rate fell from 5.0 percent to 4.7 percent as the trend of declining labor force also occurred across other states.
The job increases were primarily due to gains in education and health services (1,800 net increase in jobs) and construction (1,200 net increase). Month-to-month declines were reported in information (500 net jobs loss); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (net 300 fewer) and Other Services (300 net decrease).
Bamberg County had the highest unemployment rate among South Carolina counties at 8.4 percent, while Lexington and Charleston counties had the lowest at 4.0 percent. South Carolina’s overall jobless rate is a half-percentage point lower than May 2015’s 6.1 percent.