Executive Director Cheryl Stanton celebrated the news Wednesday in a statement.
“Today marks an exciting and great day because the last time South Carolina’s unemployment rate fell below the national average was January 2001,” Stanton said. “Such outstanding news lets us know South Carolina is on the right track and provides even further inspiration for DEW as we focus on matching and training workers to fit the statewide business community’s workforce needs, which will further reduce the number of unemployed.”
According to numbers released by the agency, South Carolina closed out 2013 with a significant drop in the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate to 6.6 percent in December, down from 7.1 percent in November. After showing little movement through late spring and summer, the rate has trended downward during the final four months of the year, marking a drop of 1.5 percentage points since August.
The national jobless rate for December was 6.7 percent. In the statement released by DEW, the agency attribute the decline in the national rate to a declining labor force, but attributes the decline in the state rate to an increase in jobs.
The estimated number of unemployed South Carolinians in December was over 142,000, a decrease of 9,800 from November. The number of those listed as employed increased by over 10,500 to a level of 2,011,198. The labor force was estimated to be at 2,153,569 people. That is a small increase from November’s level of 2,152,797, according to the report.
Since December 2012, the unemployment rate has declined 2 percent and the total number of unemployed people declined by 43,493. During the same period, 26,824 people found work and 16,669 people left the labor force, according to the agency.