South Carolina’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in more than 16 years last month, according to the latest jobs data from the state Department of Employment and Workforce.
The state’s jobless rate dropped from 4.1 percent in May to 4.0 percent last month, the agency announced in a release. That is the lowest recorded level since December 2001. The number of people listed as unemployed also dropped by more than 4,800 to 91,710. The mark is the lowest overall unemployment total recorded since February 2001, when the Census showed approximately 800,000 fewer residents living in South Carolina.
However, the decline was largely due to a decline in the labor force rather than any increase in jobs. The agency’s data showed the number of South Carolinians listed as employed dropped by nearly 2,100 in June. The labor force contracted by more than 6,900 during the same span. However, South Carolina’s labor force is still larger than a year earlier.
Most of the job growth last month was in the Leisure and Hospitality sector (4,600 net job increase), along with Professional and Business Services (1,800 net increase) and Manufacturing (1,500 additional jobs). However, declines were reported in the Government (5,200 fewer jobs) and Education and Health Services (3,100 net decline).
Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in May to 4.4 percent in June. South Carolina’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate for 12 consecutive months.