The Buzz

November 22, 2013

POLITICS: S.C.'s unemployment rate falls to 7.5 percent (Update)

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to thebuzz@thestate.com.

South Carolina's unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent in October, the lowest it has been since September 2008.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate raised slightly to 7.3 percent.

From the Department of Employment and Workforce news release:

Since October 2012, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.3 percent and includes a decline of 26,940 in the number of unemployed. Of that drop, 17,779 people found work. Almost 9,200 people left the labor force during the year.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who is in Arizona this week for the Republican Governor's Association meeting, was quick to trumpet the news.

"Considering the unemployment rate crossed 11 percent just three years ago, everyone in the state should be proud of the fact that we're at 7.5 percent and rapidly gaining on the national average," Haley said in a news release. "But the truth is we're just getting started – and nowhere in the country will there be a bigger push to put people back to work and keep driving the unemployment number down than what will keep happening in South Carolina.”

South Carolina has consistently had an unemployment rate higher than the national average during Haley's tenure -- a key point of attack for Democrats. But October's numbers bring S.C.'s unemployment rate to within 0.2 percentage points, the closest S.C. has been to the national average since September 2002.

More from DEW:

With an over-the-month increase of 3,600, October’s seasonally adjusted, non-farm payrolls reached a year-high level of 1,901,300. This is the fifth consecutive employment increase since May 2013.
South Carolina’s largest gains were in Manufacturing (+2,600); Construction (+1,800); and Educational and Health Services (+1,800); with smaller growth in Financial Activities (+400) and Information (+300).
Declines were reported in Other Services (-1,100); Professional and Business Services (-900); and Leisure and Hospitality (-900); largely related to declines in the tourism industry. Smaller drops were seen in Government (-300) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-100).

UPDATE: Here's how the Democrats are spinning the numbers (Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, is the House Minority Leader):

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