South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 15 years last month, as a plunge in the state’s labor force coincided with a small net increase in new jobs.
New numbers released by the state Department of Employment and Workforce on Friday showed South Carolina had slightly more than 100 people find work last month. But 4,270 fewer people were listed as unemployed in June, meaning many people had left the labor force once summer began.
However, the net result was that South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent in June from May’s 5.6 percent. That is the lowest reported rate since July 2001, when the jobless rate was 5.0 percent.
South Carolina bucked the national average, which climbed by 0.2 percentage points last month. However the Palmetto State’s overall rate is still above the nation’s overall 4.9 percent unemployment.
The state’s labor force saw gains in Professional and Business Services, Government and Financial Activities. Declines were reported in Manufacturing, Leisure and Hospitality and Other Services.
Charleston County reported the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent, while Bamberg County had the highest at 9.9 percent.
South Carolina’s overall unemployment rate is down since June 2015, when it was at 5.9 percent. Since that time, more than 68,000 additional people have joined the state’s workforce, while the labor force has increased by roughly 60,000 people.