South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.3% in April from 3.4% in March, with the financial activities and leisure and hospitality industries seeing the largest employment gains.
The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s seasonally adjusted, monthly survey of households estimated the number of South Carolinians working at 2,312,616, an increase of 9,017 people from the March estimate and up 51,896 from April 2021. The number of unemployed people in the state fell to 79,176, a decrease of 1,571 from March and 20,143 from April 2021.
The state’s estimated labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, increased to 2,391,792, up 7,446 people from March and 31,753 from April 2021.
The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6%.
In South Carolina, the financial activities industry reported 3,200 new jobs, while leisure and hospitality gained 2,700. Construction lost 2,100 jobs.
From April 2021 to April 2022, South Carolina’s economy added 66,400 seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs, according to DEW.
Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, called the April numbers “good news all around” in a news release from the agency.
“In addition, wages continue to grow,” Ellzey said. “In the past year, wages in South Carolina have risen 4.38%, from $26.70 in April 2021 to $27.87 in April 2022. Some of this increase is due to movement between industries. As individuals leave lower-paying jobs for work in manufacturing, for instance, that leaves more openings which create competition for workers and compels the lower-paying jobs to increase wages in order to attract jobseekers.”
The Columbia metropolitan statistical area gained 5,300 jobs from March to April 2022 and has added 3,300 jobs since April 2021. Charleston/North Charleston added 700 jobs month-over-month and has gained 16,400 year-over-year. Greenville/Anderson/Mauldin lost 100 jobs month-over-month but has gained 15,800 year-over-year, while Spartanburg added 900 jobs from March to April 2022 and 4,100 from April 2021.
Unemployment dropped in every S.C. county in April 2022, falling to 2.7% from 3.3% in Richland County, where the rate stood at 4% in April 2021. In Lexington County, unemployment fell to 2.1% from 2.7% in March and 2.8% in April 2021.
Ellzey said that while the summer months will likely lead to an increase in seasonal and part-time jobs, employers are still reporting not being able to find enough workers. He said another challenge is a lack of soft skills among young people entering the workforce.
“Our agency recognizes that predicament and we offer programs to teach individuals soft skills,” Ellzey said. “We are also leading an initiative to come up with a statewide soft skills certification.”