Published May 18, 2012
South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped for the ninth straight month to 8.8% in April, the state Department of Employment and Workforce announced today.
Overall, the jobless rate improved from 8.9% reported in March, the agency added. The decline happened despite a reduction in the workforce by 6,055 to slightly more than 2.1 million, with many people abandoning their job search. The agency reported that the ranks of unemployed declined by 2,799 to 189,865 persons.
“While this is great news, we’re going to keep working hard to make our state the most competitive in the country for business development and bring more jobs for our people,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.
About 28,290 people have found jobs in the past year, indicating the S.C. economy continues to improve.
“The decline in the state’s unemployment rate coupled with the number of jobs announcements in recent months show positive signs of growth and stability for South Carolina’s economy,” said Abraham Turner, the agency’s executive director.
All but one of the sectors surveyed showed increases in employment between March and April, when not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations. Overall, non-farm payrolls increased by 13,500 workers.
A breakdown by sectors follows:
- Leisure and hospitality, up 7,300 workers, with most of the gain due to increased hiring by restaurants and bars.
- Trade, transportation and utilities, up 3,400 jobs with most of the gains in retail trade.
- Professional and business services, up 1,000.
- Manufacturing, up 300.
- Construction increased by 500 workers, showing improvement for the second consecutive month.
- Education and health services increased by 1,300, with most of the gains in health care and social assistance.
- Government jobs fell by 500, with the loss primarily in local governments.
As far as the state’s metro areas, the jobless rate dropped in Florence to 9.4% in April compared with 9.5% for March, while Greenville slipped a notch to 7% from 7.1%. Charleston and Columbia metro markets held even at 7.1% and 7.5%, respectively.
Marion County had the highest jobless rate in April at 16.8%, although it improved from 17.4% in March. It was followed by Marlboro at 15.7% and Barnwell at 13.7%.
Lexington County had the lowest jobless rate at 6.6% in April, down from 6.7% in March.