South Carolina’s unemployment rate jumped to 11 percent last month, up from a revised 10.7 percent in July. The SC Department of Employment and Workforce said Tuesday the number of residents out of work increased and the number of people with jobs dropped. The state’s labor force increased slightly to 2.15 million, ending a five-month slide. State labor market analyst Sam McClary says the end of the summer vacation season has a significant effect on the unemployment rate. “Usually after the Fourth of July holiday, leisure and hospitality begins to taper off before the fall months, ” says McClary.
McClary says the number of persons seeking jobs has increased after several months due in large measure to the start of a new school year:
Over the past six months we have seen the unemployed leave the labor force for whatever reason and now they seem to be coming back in to look for work. This may be because the schools have started for the fall term and people seem to be freed up to begin their job search again with the kids now out of the house.
McClary says during the fall, college students looking for part time work also adds to the labor force numbers.
As employment hovers in the double digits, consumers remain cautious and spend less. McClary says an increase in the number of jobs must be preceded by an increase in consumer confidence.
People are paying down debt and they are not spending. Until consumer spending increases to significant degree employers are not going to hire. So, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. We need consumers with confidence going forward so demand will increase and employers will begin to add staff.
While not totally impervious to the economic downturn, McClary says there is one industry that is recession- resistant.
Health care, even though it has not been totally recession resistant, it has seemed to fare pretty well during this downturn. The population is getting older and its growing so certainly health care is not something that is going to diminish.
The national unemployment rate was up 0.1% in August to 9.6%.