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S.C. reports lowest unemployment rate since 2000

Human Resources
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South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.1% in May was the lowest the state has seen since December 2000, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported today. May’s rate also was down from 4.3% in April.

According to today’s report, the number of unemployed people in South Carolina dropped by 4,932, making the number of unemployed below 100,000 (96,526), the lowest since April 2001. The number of people working in the state dropped by 513 to 2,232,168. The state’s labor force decreased by 5,445, to 2,328,694 people in May.

"With the state's unemployment rate at a near-17-year low, it's as important as ever that we continue to broaden the scope of our workforce development initiatives and ensure that South Carolinians are trained and ready when they enter the labor force,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in statement. “The fact that companies around the world know our workforce is one of the best is a major factor in our future prosperity, and we must continue to build on that successful reputation."

Since May 2016, South Carolina’s employment grew by 51,642, the labor force increased by 31,655 people, and the level of unemployed decreased 19,987.

S.C. DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton said she was encouraged by the commitment businesses are making to expand in South Carolina.

“They trust that we can provide them with skilled workers as they create jobs by expanding or opening new facilities in the state,” Stanton said in a statement. “This commitment has contributed to reducing the state’s unemployment rate to a level we have not experienced since December 2000. We have more work to do, matching those seeking work with the nearly 63,000 jobs available across the state.”

Richland County’s unemployment rate rose to 3.6% from 3.5% in April. Lexington County’s unemployment rate rose to 3.1% from 3% in April.

Among the state’s metro areas, Florence recorded the highest unemployment rate at 4.1%, no change from April. Columbia posted an unemployment rate of 3.5%, up from 3.4% in April, while Greenville posted an unemployment rate of 3.3%, remaining steady from April. Charleston had an unemployment rate of 3.1%, the same as April.

Nationally, April’s unemployment rate fell from 4.3% compared to 4.4% last month.

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