South Carolina’s Employment Situation: November 2014

Number of Employed South Carolinians Hits Record High; Labor Force Expands for Fifth Consecutive Month

The number of South Carolinians working reached a record high of 2,051,511 in November, while the labor force expanded for the fifth consecutive month.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent, and the labor force increased by 5,563 people to an estimated all-time record of 2,197,756.

The number of South Carolinians employed rose by 5,908 since October. The number of unemployed decreased slightly by 345 people to 146,245.

“In November, South Carolina employers added 14,200 additional jobs to their payrolls, breaking the all-time record set in January 2008.,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce. ”Furthermore, there are a record number of people working in the labor force. This type of record-setting employment growth, along with labor force expansion, points to continued economic prosperity as the year winds down, and we look forward to 2015.”

An estimated 28,659 people have found work since the same time last year, and the labor force has increased by 27,592. Over the year, the state’s unemployment rate has declined by 0.1 percentage points.

Nationally, the November unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent.

Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted)

Non-farm payrolls (seasonally adjusted) in November increased 14,200 over the month, to a level of 1,965,400.

  • South Carolina’s top industry increases were in Professional and Business Services (+4,500); Leisure and Hospitality (+3,200); Government (+2,100); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities(+2,000); Manufacturing (+1,100); and Financial Activities (+1,000). Employment gains were also recorded in Information (+700) and Other Services (+500).
  • Declines were reported in Education and Health Services (-700) and Construction (-200).

Compared to a year ago, seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 48,900.

  • Industries with noticeable gains were Professional and Business Services (+16,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+10,300); Manufacturing (+8,200); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,900); Education and Health Services (+4,300); and Government (+3,900). Smaller increases were reported in Construction (+600) and Information (+300).
  • Over-the-year, Other Services saw a decline (-1,300).

Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Over the month, not-seasonally adjusted, non-farm payroll employment increased by 12,700 to

1,974,500. This increase followed as the trade industry begins its seasonal hiring. The notable gains were in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,400); Government (+3,500); Manufacturing (+2,300); Professional and Business Services (+2,300); Information (+800); Financial Activities (+800); Other Services (+600); and Education and Health Services (+300). Industries reporting decreases were Leisure and Hospitality (-2,100) and Construction (-1,200).

  • From November 2013 to November 2014, not-seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 50,600.
  • Industries marking strong annual gains were Professional and Business Services (+20,100); Leisure and
  • Hospitality (+8,600); Manufacturing (+8,100); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,900); Education and Health Services (+4,400); and Government (+4,100). Information and Construction also saw slight gains (+200 each). The industries showing losses over the year were Other Services (-800); Financial Activities (-100); and Natural Resources and Mining (-100).

To see the full report, including county-level data, visit this page.



SC Works Helps Nichols Realize Occupational Goal

Rebecca NicholsWhen Rebecca Nichols enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program through Hartsville SC Works, she was unemployed but had the desire to become a licensed practical nurse.

With the training opportunity that WIA provides and the high-demand of nursing occupations, Nichols enrolled in the licensed practical nursing program through the Marion County School of Practical Nursing.

She received her Certificate of Achievement in May 2014 and her State Board of Nursing Licensure shortly after in July.

Just one month after completing certification, Nichols was hired as a licensed practical nurse at a local nursing and rehabilitation facility in Sumter.

Through SC Works Hartsville, the WIA program and Nichols’ hard work, drive and dedication, she is now self-sufficient and making a positive impact on her community.

S.C. Manufacturing Job Growth Tops the Nation

South Carolina’s growth in manufacturing jobs outperformed the national average for the third consecutive year, according to recent data published by Manufacturers’ News.

S.C. manufacturers added 5,848 industrial jobs, or a 2.2 percent jump, from September 2013 to September 2014, outpacing the 1.4 percent national average for the same time period.

Since October 2013, the state added approximately 7,600 manufacturing jobs, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s recent employment situation report.

The Palmetto State is now home to 4,735 manufacturers employing 269,694 workers, according to Manufacturers’ News. The industrial publisher has recorded a 5.1 percent increase in the state’s manufacturing jobs since September 2011, outpacing the nation’s overall gain of 3.3 percent.

“Manufacturing employment in South Carolina continues to pick up speed,”  said Tom Dubin, president of the Illinois publishing company, which has been surveying  the industry since 1912. “Major players in the auto industry have chosen to invest in the state, and its business friendly environment and solid infrastructure have boosted employment across a variety of sectors.”

For a complete look at the Manufacturers’ News report on South Carolina, visit this page.

Nationally, the Institute for Supply Management this week reported its factory index measuring manufacturing growth held strong in November. The index was at 58.7, which is little changed from October and the second best level since April 2011. A reading over 50 indicates expansion.

DEW Shows Support for Guard and Reserve

SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton today pledged the agency’s support to employees who serve in the military.


(Left to right) Midlands ESGR Chairman Bob Kuenzli, Adjutant General Robert Livingston, Joe Smoak of SC ESGR, Cheryl Stanton of DEW, SC ESGR State Chairman Eli Wishart, and Col. Ronald Taylor of the S.C. National Guard

Stanton signed a statement of support for the Guard and Reserve. Adjutant General Robert Livingston, Col. Ronald Taylor of the S.C. National Guard, and Eli Wishart and Bob Kuenzli of the S.C. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) attended a signing ceremony at DEW.

DEW, ESGR and the S.C. National Guard have a long-standing partnership in helping military service members and veterans find meaningful civilian employment through Operation Palmetto Employment. In fact, the veterans’ unemployment rate in South Carolina is sixth lowest in the nation at 4.1 percent.

ESGR informs and educates service members and their civilian employers about  their rights and responsibilities under  the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. Learn more about S.C. ESGR here.

Operation Palmetto Employment has the resources to help businesses hire qualified military candidates and job seekers find employment.  Learn more here.

DEW’s MyBenefits Portal Now Accepting Online Payments

The SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) is making it easier than ever for unemployment insurance (UI) claimants to pay back debt.

In addition to submitting by mail and automatic draft, claimants may now use the online payment portal via MyBenefits. You may pay with a debit card, credit card or an electronic check.

Click here for a step-by-step guide

An improper payment occurs when someone receives UI benefits that he or she is not eligible for.

If a person has been overpaid for UI benefits, whether fraudulent or non-fraudulent, he or she must repay the debt to DEW or risk the following penalties:

  • Withholding of wages if currently employed
  • Deducting the money owed from federal and/or state income tax refunds
  • Deducting debt from any other money owed by the state

Alternative collection methods can be avoided by either repaying the debt in full or establishing and maintaining a monthly payment plan.  After receiving a Notice of Overpayment of Benefits, you should  immediate action should be taken by calling DEW’s Overpayment Unit at 803.737.2490.

In recent years, DEW’s fraud prevention and detection efforts have dramatically decreased the number of improper payments being made. In 2012, the agency implemented a software system that compares wage data against unemployment data to detect potential conflicts. For example, it can detect if a person who is filing weekly claims is actually earning wages and working.

This process helps DEW better detect both fraud and non-fraud overpayments, identifies the potential fraud sooner, flags the claim and stops payments. With quicker identification, DEW is able to both recoup fraudulent improper payments sooner and prosecute more fraud cases.

DEW has also improved its detection capability by reducing the claims’ audit time frame by 50 percent.

The quicker detection processes have:

  • Reduced the number of potentially fraudulent weeks claimed by 30 percent,
  • Decreased the average amount paid per potentially fraudulent case by 30 percent, and
  • Significantly reduced the average number of fraud cases per quarter by 50 percent.

The new online payment portal is just another step towards efficiency and DEW’s goal of improved improper payment detection, prevention and recovery.

For more information about improper payments and fraud prevention, visit

South Carolina’s Employment Situation: October 2014

 Labor Force Hits Record High

In October, South Carolina’s labor force hit an all-time high, while the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.7 percent.

From September to October 2014, the labor force noted an increase of 9,487 people, which marked a historic level of 2,192,212.

The October unemployment rate ticked up from 6.6 percent in September as the estimated number of unemployed was 146,713, an increase of 2,291 people over the month. The number of South Carolinians working grew by an estimated 7,196 people to 2,045,499.

Over the last year, more than 25,000 people have found work. Since October 2013, the labor force has increased by nearly 18,791 people, and the state’s unemployment rate has declined by approximately 0.3 percentage points.

Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased to 5.8 percent in October from 5.9 percent in September.

Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted)

 In October, seasonally adjusted, non-farm payrolls increased by 4,900, to reach 1,949,600.

  •  Healthy increases occurred in Education and Health Services (+2,600) and Manufacturing (+2,100).
  • Additional job gains were reported in Professional and Business Services (+600); Government (+500); and Leisure and Hospitality (+200).

Since October 2013, seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 37,200.


  •  Industries with noticeable gains were Professional and Business Services (+12,000); Leisure and Hospitality (+8,300); Manufacturing (+7,600); Education and Health Services (+6,100); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+4,300); and Government (+2,400). There was a smaller increase in Construction (+300).
  • Other Services (-1,600); Financial Activities (-1,500); and Information (-700) declined.

Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Not-Seasonally Adjusted)

 The not-seasonally adjusted, non-farm payroll employment in October 2014 increased 12,700 since September to 1,960,200. Employment usually increases during the month of October as state and local schools complete staffing for the school year.

The rise in employment was primarily due to increases in Government (+4,100); Professional and Business Services (+2,800); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2,700); Education and Health

Services (+2,600); Manufacturing (+1,800); and Construction (+1,100). Leisure and Hospitality (-2,200) along with Other Services (-100) and Information (-100) fell.

From October 2013 to October 2014, not-seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 41,000 overall.

Strong annual gains came from Professional and Business Services (+15,500); Leisure and Hospitality (+8,900); Manufacturing (+7,000); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,700); Education and Health

Services (+5,500); Government (+2,500); and Construction (+100). The industries showing losses over the year were Financial Activities (-1,900); Other Services (-1,500); and Information (-800).

*Seasonally Adjusted: Seasonal adjustment removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year (i.e. tourist-related hiring and school closings in the summer). These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in data over time.

 **Not Seasonally Adjusted: Effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed from these data.

Top 10 Projected Occupations in SC for 2022

The 2012 to 2022 employment projections indicate that more than 228,800 new jobs will be added in South Carolina. That is nearly a 12 percent increase over 10 years.

For jobseekers, students, educators and career counselors, this data may be helpful in career planning. Tables showing the top 10 occupations in terms of number, of percentage increases, and of number of total job openings are listed below.

Table 1: Top 10 occupations in employment number increase


Table 2: Top 10 occupations in employment percentage increase


Since employment number change represents new jobs added to the occupation, Table 1 tends to include occupations of significant size, while Table 2 emphasizes how fast an occupation will grow by the compared to its original size. Only two occupations appeared in both Tables 1 and 2 – Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides. Both are relatively large in size and growing quickly.

Table 3: Top 10 occupations with most job openings


The six occupations found in both Tables 1 and 3 include Registered Nurses, Retail Salespersons, Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, including Fast Food, Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand, Customer Service Representatives, and Team Assemblers.

These occupations represent an overwhelming majority in both employment number change and job openings. With such high prospects for growth, these occupations are something to consider when planning for your future.

To search for jobs by key word and zip code, visit SC Works Online Services at or download the free mobile app by searching SC Works in the app store, available on Android and Apple devices.

This article originally appeared in Insights, a publication of the S.C. Department and Workforce’s Business Intelligence Department. Read previous Insights articles here.

JAG-SC Shines in Washington

Almost 200 students and teachers representing Jobs for Americas Graduates-SC (JAG-SC) spent the past two days meeting with leaders in our nation’s capital.

JAG-Scott2_smallThe JAG National Leadership Awards Luncheon was held today to recognize a variety of corporate and government leaders who make the high school dropout prevention and job readiness program possible. Several South Carolinians were honored during the two day festivities:

  • Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), received the Government Leader Award for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in an elected or appointed government office.  She was recognized for promoting the JAG mission to diverse audiences and her overall leadership and investment in the state’s emerging workforce.
  • Kendra Smith, a South Florence High JAG-SC student, was selected to sing the National Anthem at the luncheon.
  • Yetzibel Santos of Swansea High represented South Carolina in JAG’s celebration of one million students. The organization hit the milestone of one million students served this year, and each state designated a delegate to mark the occasion.

ScottJAG_1_smallOn Wednesday, students from the Palmetto State got a chance to meet and spend time with Sen. Tim Scott at the Capitol. Coordinated by DEW, JAG-SC is currently in its ninth year and has served more than 7,000 students.

With the help of a dedicated career specialist at each participating school, JAG students work on skills identified by businesses as essential to successful employment. The S.C. program has been consistently recognized at the national level for its success in equipping young people for life beyond high school.

State’s Businesses to Save on Federal Unemployment Taxes for Fourth Consecutive Year

For the fourth consecutive year, S.C. businesses will only pay the minimum 0.6 percent per employee for federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) because the Palmetto State once again met the requirements to obtain the maximum 5.4 percent credit for 2014 FUTA.

South Carolina is the only borrowing state to receive a waiver for the full 5.4 percent. Receiving this credit means S.C. businesses will save up to $140 per worker.

“This is just another example of the positive track our state’s unemployment trust fund is on as we approach solvency in the coming year,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). “Thanks to diligent fiscal stewardship by our governor and General Assembly, we are able to tell the state’s business community that it will realize the maximum benefits of FUTA cost savings for the fourth year in a row.”

Federal law requires a reduction in the FUTA tax credit (i.e. that the FUTA rate for a state’s employers will increase) when a state has outstanding federal unemployment loans for two consecutive Januarys and has not made sufficient voluntary payments towards the loan and other solvency improvement measures. Such reduction in the FUTA tax credit would be higher when a state has outstanding federal unemployment loans for five consecutive Januarys—which is the case in South Carolina. However, borrowing states like South Carolina can formally ask the U.S. Department of Labor for the credit reduction to be avoided if they meet certain criteria that exhibit fiscal responsibility.

One of the requirements was that South Carolina make a voluntary payment toward the outstanding loan balance before Nov. 10. This year, the state made a $60 million payment in April and a $126 million payment in September. Most importantly, S.C. businesses have seen an 18 to 25 percent reduction in their unemployment taxes since 2011.

South Carolina also has repaid approximately $700 million of the $977 million borrowed from the federal government.

The outstanding balance on the loan is $270 million, and the state is scheduled to repay the loan in full by the end of 2015.

Palmetto State Manufacturing on the Road to Recovery

South Carolina has one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the region and nation, according to a recent U.S. Commerce Department, Bureau of Economic Analysis report.

The report ranked South Carolina’s economy as the 12th fastest growing in the nation, coupled with the fastest growing manufacturing Gross Domestic Product on the East Coast.

Employment Trends

Manufacturing in the Palmetto State breaks down into five primary subsectors: Food; Chemical; Plastics and Rubber; Fabricated Metal; and Machinery Manufacturing.

These primary subsectors along with others formed the industry’s estimated 224,533 workers in 2013, the most recent data available.

manufacturing employment

Source: Quarterly Census of Employment & Wage

Though the manufacturing industry has had an extremely rough past decade, as the average employment dropped 7,400 per year, the figures vary largely with the financial well-being of the economy as the number of companies dropped sharply in 2003, 2007, and 2009.

Manufacturing employment has made an extreme turn around, going from decreasing fairly constantly to increasing at a substantial growth rate. According to the Department of Commerce, the manufacturing sector comprised 68 percent of new jobs and 82 percent of capital investment (10,442 jobs and $4.5 billion in investment) in 2013.

Employment Opportunities

If you’re thinking about starting a career in this booming industry sector, check out the top occupations in 2013 and the most requested manufacturing certifications by employers as of June 2014.

Top 10 South Carolina manufacturing occupations in 2013:

  • Team Assemblers
  • First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
  • Machinists
  • Helpers–Production Workers
  • Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
  • Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders
  • Slaughterers and Meat Packers
  • Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

Source: Occupational Employment Statistics

Top manufacturing certifications requested by employers in South Carolina as of June 2014:

  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration certification
  • Food safety programs
  • Material Handling Equipment
  • Automotive supply chain quality management certification
  • Forklift certification
  • Certified Welding Inspector
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers certification
  • American Production and Inventory Control Society certification
  • Top Secret Sensitive Clearance
  • First Aid certification

Source: The Conference Board Help Wanted Online® data series Outlook

A longer version of this article originally appeared in Insights, a publication of the S.C. Department and Workforce’s Business Intelligence Department. Read previous Insights articles here.