Employment is up in South Carolina, and the jobless rate is down. But a smaller percentage of the population is working. Here’s a breakdown of unemployment statistics in May:
South Carolina’s unemployment rate in May. That is unchanged from April’s rate, which was the lowest level in 13 years. The state’s rate peaked at nearly 12 percent in December 2009, following the worst recession in a lifetime. It has declined slowly over the past four years amid the country’s bumpy recovery. The national unemployment rate remained at 6.3 percent in May.
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Percentage of the state’s adult population that is working. That’s down significantly from the 59.1 percent working at the beginning of the recession and the 60 percent who were working 13 years ago, the last time the state’s unemployment rate was this low. It’s slightly better than the low of 53.9 percent that held steady during the last quarter of 2010 when the recession’s effects were harshest.
The number of people in the state working in May, a historic high. The state saw a big jump in the trade, transportation and utilities category, which added 4,900 workers not adjusted for seasonal factors between April and May. The leisure and hospitality industry also added 3,700 jobs, which typically are part-time and lower paying positions. Professionals and business services, which includes temporary workers, added 3,200 jobs. Education and health services lost 1,000 workers, and construction lost 500.
The labor force in South Carolina in May. Even though more people are working, many have dropped out of the job market. The peak of the labor market was in January 2013 when 2,189,430 were either working or looking for work. The labor force has dropped by 20,961 people in the state from a year ago.
Lexington County’s unemployment rate in May, the lowest rate in the state. It rose from 3.9 percent rate in April. Richland County’s rate also edged up to 5.2 percent from 5 percent in April. Marion County had the highest rate in the state a 9.6 percent, a slight increase from its 9.5 percent April rate.
SOURCES: S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics