Unemployment remained unchanged in South Carolina at 3.5% in February, according to data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
DEW’s seasonally adjusted, monthly survey of households estimated the number of South Carolinians working increased to 2,295,706, a jump of 3,406 people from January and 49,175 from February 2021. The state’s estimate of unemployed people showed little change month-to-month at 82,658, while its labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, increased by more than 3,822 people to 2,378,364 from January to February.
“The unemployment rate stayed at 3.5 for the second month in a row,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a statement. “However, while we have 46,353 more employees working in February 2022 than there were in February 2020, employer demand is still high. We currently have more than 112,000 job postings in SC Works Online Services, which is approximately 41,000 more postings than there were prior to the pandemic.”
Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased to 3.8% in February from 4% in January.
In S.C., nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 17,500 month-to-month, with the biggest gains reported in the professional and business services industry (7,100) and government (2,700). The information industry saw a drop of 700 jobs.
From February 2021 to February 2022, South Carolina’s economy has added 64,700 seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs, according to DEW. That growth has been paced by the leisure and hospitality industry, which added 18,000 jobs, and trade, transportation and utilities, which added 16,100.
Government jobs dropped by 500 year-to-year.
The Columbia metropolitan statistical area led the state in job growth from January to February, adding 3,900 positions. Greenville/Anderson/Mauldin added 2,800, Charleston/North Charleston added 1,200 and Spartanburg added 400.
In Richland County, unemployment rose to 4% in February from 3.8% in January, while Lexington County saw a rise to 3.3% from 2.9%.
On Wednesday, DEW announced the formation of the Labor Force Participation Task Force, made up of a group of labor economists who will more closely analyze the state’s employment data and make recommendations to improve participation.