S.C. jobless rate rises in January

March 18, 2013 

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KIRK LYTTLE — KRT

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    8.7%

    Jobless rate in South Carolina in January. That’s up from a revised 8.6 percent in December.

    Why it matters: The jobless rate is a gauge of unemployment trends in South Carolina. The rate peaked at nearly 12 percent in January 2010 but is still much higher than its low of 3.2 percent in March 1998.

    1.84 million

    The number of people employed in South Carolina in nonfarm jobs in January. That’s down nearly 34,000 from December because of workers who lost seasonal jobs after the holiday buying season and temporary layoffs during the school break. But it’s up more than 31,000 from January 2012, when the state’s unemployment rate was 9.5 percent.

    Why it matters: As more people find jobs, they begin to contribute again to the overall economy by eating out, making home repairs or buying a car. That money then ripples through the economy, boosting the bottom line for many. Also, their unemployed friends, family members and neighbors — encouraged by their success — begin looking for work.

    19.2%

    Highest unemployment rate in the state in Marion County. That’s up from 18.1 percent in December but still down from 19.9 percent in January 2012.

    Why it matters: The state’s rural counties were the hardest hit by the Great Recession and are having the hardest time recovering, as 33 of the state’s 46 counties have rates above the state’s 8.7 percent. Urban and suburban areas are faring better – with 13 counties having jobless rates of 8.5 percent or below in January.

    8%

    The unemployment rate in the Midlands. That includes a 6.8 percent rate in Lexington County, the state’s lowest, and an 8.5 percent rate in Richland County. The Greenville and Charleston areas both had a 7.3 percent rate. While the Florence area, with its more rural surrounding counties, had a 10.1 percent rate.

    2

    South Carolina’s counties had decreases in the unemployment rate in January: Marlboro, which dipped to 15.8 percent from 16.4 percent, and Chesterfield, down to 12.2 percent from 12.5 percent. The remaining 44 counties saw rates spike.

    What’s next: The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which releases unemployment statistics each month, will report February’s numbers March 29. The department typically does not release a report in February, instead releasing two reports in March.

    SOURCE: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce

South Carolina’s jobless rate spiked slightly in January, mirroring national trends. Half of the states in the nation saw increased unemployment rates in January, the Labor Department said Monday, with only eight seeing improvement. Rates were unchanged in the remaining states. The national unemployment rate climbed to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December. A look at some key South Carolina numbers:

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