South Carolina’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly last month, as a slow upward trend continued this year despite more people listed as working.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce did note that roughly 5,500 more people were reported as holding jobs in May than a month earlier, but the percentage of people looking for work grew at a slightly faster pace. That moved South Carolina’s jobless rate to 6.8 percent in May, up from 6.7 percent in April.
That is the highest rate in more than 18 months, since it was 6.9 percent in October 2013. South Carolina did mirror the national trend, but the Palmetto State remains well above the national average of 5.5 percent. Regionally, Georgia reported a 6.3 percent unemployment rate, while North Carolina had a 5.7 percent rate in May.
The agency said that the number of people working in South Carolina last month reached a record of nearly 2.11 million, which 65,000 more than at the same point last year. However, the number of people listed as unemployed grew by roughly 19,000 — canceling out any gains in the state’s jobless rate.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector had the biggest job loss last month, with 3,200 fewer jobs in May compared with April. Both manufacturing and health and education showed increases of 800 jobs in May, compared with April.
Allendale County had the largest jobless rate at 11.6 percent. Charleston County had the lowest rate at 5.4 percent. However, local figures are calculated differently from state and national numbers and are not adjusted for seasonal factors.