September was a remarkably strong month for job growth in South Carolina, as a record workforce and declining unemployment led to the state’s lowest reported jobless rate in more than 16 years.
Data released by the state Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) on Friday showed the state’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate dropped from 4 percent in August to 3.9 percent in September. That is the lowest reported rate in South Carolina since February 2001.
The number of individuals working across the state increased by more than 6,900 in September, while the number listed as “unemployed” dropped by more than 1,600 individuals. That meant a net increase of nearly 5,300 new workers in the state’s labor force. The number of people working in South Carolina set a record last month at 2.23 million employees.
“While there are more people working today than any time in the state’s history and participating in the robust economy, there are still people who want to work but who may have a barrier to employment,” SCDEW director Cheryl Stanton said in a statement. “The agency is working with these individuals, whether they are homeless, veterans, ex-offenders or others, to help them overcome those barriers to be productive citizens,”
The largest job growth was reported in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities sector (4,300 net increase) and Construction (2,300 net increase). Contractions were reported in the Professional and Business Services sector (4,300 net decrease) and Leisure and Hospitality (3,200 fewer jobs).
All 46 counties reported lower unemployment last month. Charleston County had the lowest rate at 3.1 percent, while Fairfield County had the highest at 8.0 percent. Fairfield County was the location for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear expansion. The project’s abandonment in August led to more than 5,000 layoffs in the rural county.
Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased from 4.4 percent in August to 4.2 percent in September.