South Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked up in March to 6.7 percent, as state officials said the number of people seeking work increased faster than jobs opportunities.
The seasonally-adjusted rate announced on Tuesday was a slight increase from February’s 6.6 percent unemployment. But the state Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) said the number of people working had increased during that span by more than 5,800. However, the workforce increased by a larger amount — roughly 7,500 — during that same span.
The national unemployment rate remained steady at 5.5 percent in March.
“I’m excited about today’s jobs numbers because South Carolina’s economy continues to expand,” DEW executive director Cheryl Stanton said in an emailed statement. “The state has the most South Carolinians working ever, 64 consecutive months of employment growth and 14 consecutive months of labor force expansion.”
Stanton said the nearly 2.1 million working residents in March was the highest ever recorded in South Carolina.
The largest increases came in the beleaguered construction industry, which grew by 1,100 jobs last month, according to SCDEW data. The hardest-hit sector appeared to be leisure and hospitality, which contracted by 2,400 jobs.
Allendale County reported the state’s highest unemployment rate at 12.5 percent. Lexington County had the lowest at 5.1 percent. Only four countiest (Lexington, Charleston, Greenville, and Jasper) had rates lower than the national average.