South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in May, the lowest level the state has reported in 17 years.
The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell from 4.3 percent in April, according to data released by the state Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) on Friday.
“I am encouraged to see the commitment businesses are making to South Carolina,” SCDEW Director Cheryl Stanton said in a statement. “They trust that we can provide them with skilled workers as they create jobs by expanding or opening new facilities in the state. This commitment has contributed to reducing the state’s unemployment rate to a level we have not experienced since December 2000.”
However, the data in May appears linked by a decrease in the state’s labor force. Over 4,900 fewer unemployed were reported in May, the same time roughly 500 less South Carolinians were listed as employed than a month earlier.
It was still South Carolina’s lowest overall jobless rate since December 2000. Bureau of Labor Statistics data notes the number of unemployed residents was the lowest reported since April 2001, when the Census Bureau believes state’s population had nearly 900,000 fewer people.
Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 4.4 percent in April to 4.3 percent in May. South Carolina recorded the 21-lowest rate nationwide, tied with New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
The largest growth was reported in the Professional and Business Services and the Leisure and Hospitality sectors (each reported a net increase of 6,400 jobs). Trade, Transportation, and Utilities reported a net 3,700 job increase. Minor losses of net 400 fewer jobs were reported in the Financial Activities and Government sectors.
Charleston County had the state’s lowest jobless rate at 2.9 percent in May, compared with the highest rate at 6.7 percent in Bamberg County.