The newest jobs numbers released Friday show South Carolina recorded its lowest unemployment rate in more than eight years last month, but still trails the overall national average.
South Carolina’s 5.6 percent jobless rate dropped slightly from 5.7 percent in September, according to the latest data released Friday by the state Department of Employment and Workforce. That is the lowest rate South Carolina has seen since June 2007, just before the country dipped into the housing crisis and eventual recession.
The number of jobs increased at a faster pace than population growth. South Carolina saw nearly 7,900 additional residents listed as “employed” in October, combined with nearly 2,400 fewer listed on unemployment rolls. Meanwhile, the state’s overall labor force added nearly 5,400 more people in October.
In all, a record 2.128 million people were listed as working in October, SCDEW officials said. “I continue to be encouraged by the fact that more and more people are working than any time in South Carolina history,” agency director Cheryl Stanton said. “For the last five months, including this last month in which we experienced a historic and devastating flood, we are seeing our unemployment rate drop to levels not seen in years,”
Workforce officials say the professional and business services sector added 6,700 jobs over the last month. Education and Health Services grew by 2,700 positions. Financial Activities and Leisure and Hospitality saw estimated declines of 1,400 jobs and 1,100 positions, respectively.
The overall number of seasonally-adjusted jobs is up by 57,100 over the same time period in 2014, SCDEW said.
Charleston, Greenville and Jasper counties all reported the lowest overall unemployment rate in the state at 4.7 percent, while Orangeburg County had the highest overall rate at 10.7 percent.