S.C.’s unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in March from 3.5% in February, though the month also saw a decrease of around 7,400 nonfarm jobs.
The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s monthly survey estimated the number of South Carolinians working at 2,303,592, an increase of 7,859 over the February estimate and up 49,944 over March 2021 figures. The estimated number of unemployed people dropped to 80,772, a decrease of 1,842 people from February and down 20,586 from March 2021.
South Carolina’s estimated labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, increased to 2,384,364, up 6,017 from February and 29,358 from March 2021.
Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% to 3.8%.
The number of nonfarm jobs in the state fell to 2,191,000, with the professional and business services industry reporting a loss of 5,200 jobs and leisure and hospitality losing 1,500. Gains were noted in information (200), construction (100) and financial activities (100).
From March 2021 to March 2022, South Carolina’s economy has picked up 57,400 seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs, led by 17,800 new jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry, according to DEW.
The Columbia metropolitan statistical area lost a state-high 4,400 jobs from February to March and has lost 1,600 from March 2021 to March 2022. Charleston/North Charleston loss 100 month-to-month but has gained 15,700 year-to-year. Greenville/Anderson/Maudlin lost 600 from February to March and has gained 400 year-to-year, while Spartanburg lost 200 month-to-month and has gained 2,800 year-to-year.
Unemployment rates dropped in every S.C. county from February to March, falling to 3.3% from 4% in Richland County and to 2.7% from 3.3% in Lexington County.
“The number of people participating in the labor force is larger than it has ever been at 2,384,364,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a statement. “While the labor force participation rate remains at 57.2%, there are nearly 68,000 more people in the labor force than pre-pandemic, and the South Carolina Labor Force Participation Task Force is continuing to examine the state’s challenges and opportunities to increase the rate.”