The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 9.6 percent in August. An announcement from the state Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) on Friday revealed the estimated number of unemployed people dropped by 2,021 to 204,941 with employment also decreasing (for the fifth consecutive month), down by 10,347 to 1,926,595.
These declines moved the labor force total down by over 12,368 to an estimated 2.1 million. Noteworthy, the labor force participation rate (58.4) is the lowest since 1976 (which is the oldest data available) and is reflective of more people choosing not to participate in the labor force than ever before, according to SCDEW officials.
Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, also primarily driven by fewer people participating in the labor force.
Nonfarm payroll jobs (not seasonally adjusted) grew by 2,400 from July to August, with the majority of the increase in Government (2,200), as state and local schools began augmenting staff for the opening day of the school year. Also increasing was the Education and Health Services sector (+1,400) as private educational schools and ambulatory health care services rebounded in August. Financial Activities had an upturn (+1,100), and there were small gains in Construction (+800) and Information (+800). Trade, Transportation, and Utilities payrolls increased by 300.
Employment in Professional and Business Services, and Leisure and Hospitality fell (-2,000 and -1,600 respectively) as the state reached the end of its tourism season. Manufacturing also declined by 400 jobs. Other Service related employment declined by 200 jobs. Natural Resources and Mining Activity was unchanged.
In the last year, nonfarm employment saw an overall increase of 15,000 jobs. The largest gains were in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,600) and Education and Health Services (+4,100), mostly in the Health Care and Social Assistance subsector). Professional and Business Services increased (+3,600 mostly in Employment Services), as did Manufacturing (+3,300). Information gained 1,600 jobs. Financial Activities employment increased (+600) and Other Service jobs (+100) also grew. Government had the largest decline since August 2011 (-2,000); other losses were seen in Natural Resources and Mining, Construction, and Leisure and Hospitality (each with -300).