South Carolina’s jobless rate ticked up slightly in July to 8.1 percent from 8 percent in June as the state shed government and manufacturing jobs. Still, that’s more than a full percentage point below July 2012’s rate of 9.2 percent.
But that’s not great news for workers still struggling to find a job since the worst recession in a lifetime that technically ended more than four years ago. The number of people with jobs in South Carolina decreased by 4,084 between June and July, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, which released the jobs report Monday. There were 174,267 unemployed South Carolinians in July with a labor force estimated at 2.16 million, the report said.
The state lost 14,400 government jobs in July as schools were shut down for the summer. The state also lost 900 manufacturing jobs. South Carolina gained 2,400 jobs in professional and business services and 1,400 in leisure and hospitality, as hotels and restaurants beefed up staffing for the summer vacation months.
Nationally, the unemployment rate declined to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent in June.
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The Midlands saw a big drop in unemployment with the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area registering a 7.3 percent unemployment rate, down from 7.9 percent in June. Lexington County, as usual, had the lowest rate in the state at 6.2 percent, down from 6.9 percent. Richland County’s rate also sank to 7.9 percent from 8.4 percent.
The state’s rural areas continued to struggle, with Marion County showing a 15.2 percent rate – the highest in the state. Still, that’s down a full percentage point from last month.