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S.C. jobless rate falls to 5.7%, lowest since Feb. 2008

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Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Oct. 20, 2015

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate in South Carolina dropped to 5.7% in September, compared with 6% the month before, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported today.

September also marked the fourth consecutive month in which the jobless rate has declined, the department said, adding that the state unemployment rate is at its lowest level since February 2008.

CLICK TO ENLARGE: S.C. nonfarm employment by area, not seasonally adjusted (Chart/S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce)

S.C. nonfarm employment by area, not seasonally adjusted (Click to enlarge. SOURCE: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce)

Employment hit a new high in September with 2.12 million people receiving paychecks, up 7,092 from August, the employment agency said. Meanwhile, the number of people out of work dropped by 6,607 to 128,508, reaching the lowest level since April 2008.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that South Carolina had the second largest month-over-month percentage increase in nonfarm employment. Year over year, South Carolina also notched the second highest percentage increase in nonfarm employment, the federal agency said.

The state’s unemployment rate has dropped 1.1 percentage points since May, marking the largest four-month decrease since the rate fell 1.7 percentage points from June to September 1983.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1%.

“We continue to be encouraged with our improving economy as more South Carolinians are working and providing for their families than any time in our history. Equally exciting is the fact that there are still more than 65,000 jobs available across the state,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the employment department. “While it is important to celebrate this, we recognize that there are people who recently have been displaced from their jobs due to the flooding disaster. Our focus has turned to helping those individuals get back to work.”

Among the state’s metropolitan statistical areas, Charleston and Greenville recorded the lowest jobless rate of 5.1% in September, followed by Columbia at 5.4% and Florence at 6.6%.

Charleston’s jobless rate dropped from 5.3% in August and is down from 5.9% in September 2014, the department reported. Greenville’s rate fell from 5.5% in August and is down from 6.1% in September 2014.

Columbia’s unemployment rate fell from 5.8% in August and 6.3% in September 2014, while Florence is down from 7.1% in August and 7.9% in September 2014.

Orangeburg County had the highest jobless rate at 10.2% in September, followed by Marion County at 9.9%. Charleston and Lexington counties recorded the lowest rate at 4.8%, followed by Greenville County at 4.9%.

Richland County’s jobless rate was 5.6% in September.

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