SC’s jobless rate spiked in June

July 18, 2013 

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South Carolina’s jobless rate spiked slightly in June as more workers took on second jobs. While employers reported creating more jobs last month, many of them were part-time, temporary and contract jobs snapped up by people who already were employed in other capacities. Unemployment rates rose in 28 U.S. states last month, partly because more Americans started looking for work and not all of them found jobs. The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 11 states and were unchanged in another 11. The national unemployment rate remained at 7.6 percent from May. A look at some key South Carolina numbers:

8.1% - Jobless rate in South Carolina in June. That’s up from a revised 8 percent in May.

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.

1.89 million - The number of people employed in South Carolina in nonfarm jobs in June. That’s up 14,300 from May but there was the typical slowdown in employment in education and health services for the summer break.

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.

7.9% - The unemployment rate in the Midlands. That includes a 6.9 percent rate in Lexington County, the state’s lowest, and an 8.5 percent rate in Richland County. The Greenville area had a 7.4 percent rate and the Charleston area had a 7.3 percent rate. The Florence area, with its more rural surrounding counties, had a 10.1 percent rate.

16.3% - Highest unemployment rate in the state in Marion County. That’s up from 15.2 percent in May but still down from 18.1 percent in June 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 35 of the state’s 46 counties have rates above the state’s 8.1 percent. Urban and suburban areas are faring better – with 11 counties having jobless rates of 8.5 percent or below in June.

2 - Number of South Carolina counties that had decreases in the unemployment rate in June: Fairfield, which dipped to 10.1 percent from 10.5 percent, and York, down to 9.2 percent from 9.7 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 July’s numbers August 19.

SOURCE: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and USC economist Joey Von Nessen

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