South Carolina’s Employment Situation: March 2012

 Unemployment Rate Below 9.0 Percent for the First Time in More Than Three Years

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. This is the eighth consecutive month the rate has declined and is the first time in more than three years that the rate has been below 9.0 percent.

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South Carolina’s Employment Situation: February 2012

Unemployment Rate Maintains Downward Momentum

For the seventh consecutive month the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has declined. The rate fell from 9.3 percent in January to 9.1 percent in February, according to the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW).

With an increase of 9,864 employed people driving the decline, South Carolina experienced its third largest month-to-month gain in employment since 1976.

The number of individuals employed in February totaled 1,961,103.  The unemployed group fell by 4,137, down to a level of 196,746. Nationally, the unemployment rate remained flat at 8.3 percent in February.

In the last 12 months, there was little change in the overall labor force, but employment improved, climbing about 32,560.

Further positive indicators were seen in non-farm employment in South Carolina, which increased by 17,900 jobs from January to February.  Most of the gain (+10,100) was from increases in education (K-12 schools, and private and public universities) as institutions completed staffing for the spring semester. 

Three industrial sectors had robust gains in employment: Professional and Business Services (+3,900), Health Care and Social Assistance (+3,200) and Leisure and Hospitality (+2,700).  Even though registering a small gain, Manufacturing (+300) continued to grow. Retail Trade reflected its usual decline (-1,700) for this time of year and Financial Services fell (-1,000).

Since February 2011, South Carolina has seen an overall increase of 28,000 jobs.  Manufacturing led the over-the-year rise with an estimated 9,500 additional jobs.  Employment Services (a subset of Professional and Business Services) climbed 5,200 and Leisure and Hospitality rose 4,000.  Health Care and Social Assistance (+3,800) and Transportation and Warehousing (+2,900) also added to the gains in the last 12months.

“The continued decline in the state’s unemployment rate and the increase in employed persons is good news for South Carolina.” said DEW Executive Director Abraham J. Turner. “It supports recent articles noting South Carolina as faring better at economic recovery than most other states.”

To see the complete employment report, including county-level data, visit

South Carolina’s January 2012 Employment Situation: Unemployment Rate Continues to Decline

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 9.3 percent, down 0.3 percentage points from December’s revised rate of 9.6 percent.

This marks the sixth consecutive monthly decline.

The drop was mainly the result of an estimated 7,900 people leaving the labor force. The number of employed persons over the month remained virtually the same at 1,951,314.  The number of unemployed persons was estimated at 200,190, the lowest level since November 2008. 

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January.

Annually, labor force estimates are revised as part of the benchmarking process, a nationwide procedure mandated by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics using up-to-date data from various sources.

After benchmarking, South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for 2011 averaged 10.3 percent, down from the 11.2 percent average reported in 2010.  The state’s employment increased by approximately 26,900 from January 2011 to 2012, even though there was little change in the labor force, bringing the level to 2,151,504.

Typically, historical December-to-January trends depict a loss of jobs. In January 2012, there was no deviation from this norm; the unadjusted payroll survey employment fell by 33,300. 

Notably, there was a decrease of 29,000 private jobs and a loss of 4,300 government jobs. Retail Trade declined 8,300 as temporary help was released after the holiday season.

Other declines were reported in Professional and Business Services (-5,800), Leisure and Hospitality (-5,000), and Construction (-2,000). Manufacturing showed little change for the month (+100).

Despite a monthly loss, the state’s job growth showed an increase of 29,900 jobs over the year. Leading the job growth annually were Manufacturing (+11,700); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+6,700); Leisure and Hospitality (+6,200); and Professional and Business Services (+5,600).

The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online Index showed the number of online job ads in South Carolina had a decrease of about 600 (to 50,000) from December 2011 to January 2012. Across the U.S., there was an increase in ads posted (+61,300) in January. Since a year ago, online ads in the state were about 400 less than January 2011. The number of jobseekers per job opening decreased to 4.0 in January 2012, down from 5.0 in December 2011.

“As I’ve stated in the past, the continued decline in the unemployment rate is something for South Carolinians to be excited about, and we know from the SC Works system that the jobs are out there,” said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner. “It is incumbent upon us, however, to continue to work diligently with businesses to identify the skills necessary to match jobseekers to those jobs.”

For county-level data and more information, check out DEW’s full January 2012 employment situation report.

South Carolina’s Employment Situation

Unemployment rate lowest in three years; Employment at highest in 2011

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent in December 2011, a 0.4 percentage point drop from November’s 9.9 percent rate. This marks the fourth consecutive monthly rate drop and is down 1.6 percent from 2011’s high of 11.1 percent in August. 

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First-time Unemployment Claims Drop in State and Nation

Initial applications for jobless benefits dropped in both South Carolina and throughout the nation last week, according to data released today by the Department of Labor.

Nationwide, seasonally adjusted first-time claims for state Unemployment Insurance benefits decreased by 4,000 to 364,000 from the week before. This represented the lowest level since April 2008.

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South Carolina’s Unemployment Rate Drops for November

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.9 percent in November, an unprecedented 0.6 percent drop from last month’s 10.5 percent rate, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

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Read Insights for More Employment Data Details

For an in-depth look at South Carolina’s July employment situation, read Insights.

This publication, produced by the SC Department of Employment and Workforce’s Labor Market Information division, includes details about  local and regional unemployment rates, the number of jobs in particular industries and monthly Unemployment Insurance claims.

South Carolina’s July Employment Situation: Unemployment Rate Climbs; Manufacturing Continues to Gain Jobs

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 10.5 percent in June to 10.9 percent in July.

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