South Carolina’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate inched up slightly in January, going from 4.3 percent in December to 4.4 percent. However, the state workforce officials said that was due to more people entering the labor force as they maintain hiring remains strong.
New federal data released by the state Department of Employment and Workforce on Monday broke eight consecutive months of decreases to South Carolina’s jobless rate. December’s rate had been South Carolina’s lowest rate reported since 2001. But the uptick matched the national trend, the country’s overall rate also increased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent during that time.
Despite the uptick, employment itself actually rose by more than 9,300 jobs in January. However the state’s labor force grew by a faster 12,600 new people during the same time, leading to an increase in those listed as “unemployed.” This despite what SCDEW said was record overall employment for South Carolina in January at nearly 2.21 million people.
South Carolina saw the largest job gains in Professional and Business Services (4,000 net new jobs) and Financial Activities (2,800 jobs). The largest decreases occurred in the Leisure and Hospitality (1,600 net loss) and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (1,300 fewer).
Lexington County reported South Carolina’s lowest jobless rate in January at 3.9 percent. Marion County had the state’s highest rate at 9.0 percent.