Published Aug. 17, 2012
South Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked up again in July, the third consecutive rise in jobless ranks, to 9.6%, from 9.4% in June and 9.1% in May, the state Department of Employment and Workforce reported today.
The recent low jobless rate was 8.8% in April, which was the 10th straight month of shrinking jobless numbers before May’s uptick.
As a result, the overall labor force fell slightly by 7,191 people to approximately 2.14 million.
The pattern is similar to the trend in 2011 of falling employment and rising unemployment during the middle of the year, the state agency said.
The national unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June.
Regionally, the three largest metropolitan areas saw the jobless rate ease slightly. The Columbia metropolitan area’s jobless rate was 8.7%; in the Charleston MSA, the rate was 8.1%; and the Greenville MSA jobless rate was 8.3%.
The highest jobless rates remain concentrated in rural counties, with Marion leading the state at 17.6%; Allendale at 16.9%; and Marlboro at 16.3%.
Unemployment rose in July from June in eight counties: Bamberg, 16.1%; Union, 14.9%; Orangeburg, 14.6%; Lee, 12.7%; Calhoun, 12.2%; Colleton, 12.2%; Oconee, 10.4%; and Laurens, 10.1%.
State analysts said historically, employment decreases during the summer months due to the seasonal changes in employment in the education sector.
The non-farm payroll jobs, which are not seasonally adjusted, fell by 22,700 from June to July. A majority of the decrease was found in government, down 15,300. Other sectors declining in July include trade, transportation and utilities, down 3,000 mostly in retail trade; professional and business services, down 1,700; and manufacturing, down 1,600. Employment in the construction industry fell by 800 jobs after four consecutive monthly increases.
In year-on-year comparisons, since July 2011, non-farm employment has increased by 11,300 jobs. Professional and business services reported a gain over the year of 5,500 jobs, mostly in temporary employment services.
The manufacturing sector also grew by 4,600 jobs from July 2011 to July of this year. Sectors that showed a decline in employment during the past year include construction, down 2,100; leisure and hospitality, down 1,000; and financial activities down 600.
“The state’s unemployment rate has once again mirrored the movements of the national rate. A decline in payroll employment is typical for this time of year, as educational institutions are on break for the summer,” said Abraham J. Turner, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.