South Carolina’s jobless rate increased slightly in August, as losses to the construction industry wiped out gains in other sector.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rose from 3.9 percent a month earlier to 4.0 percent, according to the latest numbers released by the Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) on Friday.
August’s rise in unemployment was driven by 2,700 fewer construction jobs, according to the report. That came amid massive layoffs at a project building two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County. Roughly 5,000 overall employees lost their jobs in the move. The Columbia metropolitan statistical area reported 5,500 jobs lost in August (Greenville, by comparison, reported a 4,000-job increase).
Those layoffs disrupted what had otherwise been a decent month for jobs. SCDEW reported roughly 5,500 new jobs in the Professional and Business sector and more than 1,000 new jobs each in the Government sector and in the Education and Health Services sector.
“This past month, I’ve seen how truly blessed South Carolina is to have a robust and growing economy,” SCDEW Director Cheryl Stanton said. “After receiving the devastating news of the V.C. Summer nuclear facility closure that resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs, our business community came together and provided opportunities to many of the affected workers. But we realize there are more families around the state that have been impacted by unemployment, and we are working to help them find jobs.”
Overall, SCDEW reported 2,200 fewer people working in August, while nearly 1,500 more were listed as unemployed. The state’s overall labor force contracted by nearly 750 individuals from July. However, there are still 34,000 more people listed as employed in South Carolina than one year earlier.
Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in July to 4.4 percent in August.