Published Jan. 18, 2013
South Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked slightly upward in December, reaching 8.4% compared with 8.3% for the previous month, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported today.
The decline reflected seasonal trends in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and government sectors, according to the agency’s executive director Abraham J. Turner.
“Nonetheless, I am encouraged as the state’s overall job growth trend throughout 2012 was at a pace similar to historical levels before the recent recession,” Turner said. “This is welcomed news as we move forward in 2013, when DEW will continue partnering closely with businesses and jobseekers to put South Carolinians back to work.”
The jobless rate in December 2011 was 9.6%, the agency reported.
South Carolina’s nonagricultural employment fell by 5,800 jobs in December reaching 1,874,300. This was the first decline since July.
Over the month, the number of employed improved by 5,325 to 1,969,560, the agency said. The number of unemployed increased in December by 3,211 to 180,032. Meanwhile, the labor force expanded by 8,536 to 2,149,592.
Sectors that saw job growth included: trade, transportation and utilities, 2,400; education and health services, 1,100; construction, 700; financial activities, 300; and information, 100.
Leisure and hospitality fell by 5,900 jobs due to a drop in demand for arts, entertainment and recreation, as well as accommodation and food services, the agency said. Other sectors with job losses were government, 2,300; and professional and business services, 1,700.
Around the state, only three counties — Bamberg, Orangeburg and Calhoun — reported drops in the jobless rate, and 24 counties had double-digit unemployment rates.
Marion County’s jobless rate of 17.2% was the highest in the state, followed by Allendale, 15.6%, and Marlboro, 15.4%. Lexington County had the lowest rate at 6.6%, followed by Greenville at 6.7% and Charleston, 6.8%.
Among the state’s metro areas, Charleston and Greenville each reported a jobless rate of 7.1% in December followed by Columbia, 7.6%, and Florence, 9.5%.