For the second straight month, South Carolina’s unemployment rate edged up, from 4% to 4.1%. The number of individuals working across the state decreased by 5,104 people to 2,227,542.
The number of unemployed people increased by 3,708 to 96,434. The state’s labor force decreased to 2,323,967 workers, a drop of 1,396.
Unemployment had inched up to 4% in November from 3.9% in October.
The national unemployment rate remained at 4.1% in December.
Since 2016, South Carolina’s labor force has grown by 25,889 workers, and the number of unemployed people has decreased by 1,791. Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls increased by 2,900 in December to a record level of 2,177,200, led by an additional 5,800 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry. Construction added 2,200 jobs.
“While businesses continue to add jobs at a record pace, which is cause for celebration, we want to ensure that all South Carolinians are able to take advantage of the opportunities being provided,” Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, said in a statement. “With nearly 63,000 jobs available across the state, DEW is preparing our residents, including those with barriers to employment, to be able to succeed in those jobs.”
Unemployment rose slightly in every county in the state last month, with the exception of Saluda County, where the rate remained flat.
In the Midlands, Richland saw an increase from 4.1% to 4.3%, while unemployment in Lexington rose from 3.5% to 3.7%. In December 2016, Richland’s unemployment rate stood at 4% and Lexington’s at 3.4%.
In the Lowcountry, Berkeley and Dorchester counties saw unemployment rise from 3.5% to 3.7%. Charleston County, which had the lowest rate in the state, rose from 3.1% to 3.3%. Last month's rates for all three counties were the same as in December 2016.
In the Upstate, Greenville County rose from 3.4% to 3.6%, and Spartanburg County went from 3.7% to 3.9%. Anderson County's rate rose from 3.6% to 3.9%. Those counties were at 3.5%, 3.8% and 3.7%, respectively, in December 2016.