South Carolina’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped for an eighth consecutive month in December, as a growing labor force and drop in those considered unemployed helped lower the rate to the lowest in more than 15 years.
According to new data released by the state Department of Employment and Workforce on Monday, South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in December from 4.4 percent a month earlier. South Carolina has not reported a 4.3 percent or lower rate since May 2001. The agency credited a net 3,200-person reduction in those listed as unemployed combined with 8,700 more people listed as working.
SCDEW said the total raw number of South Carolinians listed as “unemployed” dropped below 99,000 in December — the lowest since April 2001.
“As businesses keep expanding and moving to South Carolina, there is more and more demand for our state’s most valuable resource – our people. Opportunities abound for those who seek them as our unemployment rate continues to fall to levels not experienced in 16 years,” SCDEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton said in a statement. “It is exciting to see the record number of people entering the workforce. But we can’t rest, we must continue focusing our efforts on helping the 99,000 unemployed find work.”
The largest job sector gains were reported in Education and Health Services (2,000 net new jobs) and Government (1,000 more). Decreases occurred in Professional and Business Services (net loss of 1,600 jobs); Construction (1,600 fewer) and Leisure and Hospitality (decline of 1,500 jobs). Lexington and Charleston counties reported the state’s lowest jobless rates in December at 3.3 percent. Marion County had the highest at 7.7 percent.
South Carolina bucked the national trend. The overall jobless rate ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 4.7 percent last month.