S.C. jobless rate drops to 9.1%

Staff Report
Published Oct. 19, 2012

South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped half a percentage point in September to 9.1%, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday.

The decline in S.C. jobless numbers mirrored the national trend that pegged unemployment at 7.8% in September, the lowest number since January 2009 when the economy tanked.

The state agency reported that unemployment rolls declined by nearly 11,000 from August, when the jobless rate reached 9.6%.

“Today’s announcement about the drop in the unemployment rate is a welcome change,” said Abraham Turner, executive director of DEW. “In September we saw the largest over-the-month employment increase since January 2007; therefore I am confident that with the help of businesses in the Palmetto State and the continued hard work of DEW employees, we will ensure that every South Carolinian who wants a job gets a job.”

A week ago the agency announced it would have to trim its staff by 136 because funding for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs will expire at the end of the year.

The programs were eliminated by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which was enacted in February. The downsizing plan for the agency, which has about 1,100 workers, will be completed by June 2013.

Over the month, the number of unemployed people dropped by 10,738 to 194,253. September’s unemployment rate was 1.1 percentage points lower than the year-ago rate of 10.2%.

The estimated number of employed people increased by 13,329 to 1,940,026 in September, while the labor force climbed by an estimated 2,591 people to 2,134,279.

South Carolina’s non-seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment was estimated at 1,862,600, an increase of 6,400 over the month. Since September 2011, the number of jobs in the state was up 30,000 or about 1.6%.

Among the state’s metro areas, Charleston’s jobless rate dropped a full percentage point to 6.8% from 7.8% recorded in August.

Meanwhile, Greenville’s unemployment numbers fell over the month to 6.9% from August’s rate of 7.9%.

The Columbia area’s unemployment rate for September was 7.4%, down from 8.4% in August, while Florence slipped to 9.1% from August’s figure of 10.1%.

Only one of the state’s 46 counties, Aiken, did not report a decline in unemployment. Aiken’s jobless rate was flat at 8.3%.

September was the ninth month out of the past 12 in which the state experienced job growth, the agency said.

September saw increases in the government sector, which added 15,500 jobs mostly in education services. Overall, government jobs increased by 4.7%.

Other industries gaining jobs were educational and health services, up 3,300 jobs or 1.5%, and manufacturing, up 400 jobs or 0.2%.

Industries losing jobs during the month included leisure and hospitality; trade, transportation and utilities; and construction.

Related coverage

State jobless rate stuck at 9.6%
S.C. jobless rate swells for third month
Seasonal shifts cause S.C. jobless rate to hit 9.4% in June
State agency to cut 136 positions in restructuring effort

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