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S.C. unemployment rate falls for 5th straight month to 5.6%

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 20, 2015

The Palmetto State’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped for the fifth straight month in October to 5.6%, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported.

The unemployment rate, which is at its lowest level since June 2007, decreased from 5.7% in September.

In October, the number of South Carolinians earning paychecks increased by 7,886 to a record 2,128,894, while the number of out-of-work individuals dropped by 2,395 to 126,577. The labor force grew by 5,491 to 2,255,471.

Since October 2014, the unemployment total has dropped by 19,155 people, and the labor force has grown by 46,977. In addition, employment rose by 66,132 over the year, the largest 12-month gain since July 1984.

“I continue to be encouraged by the fact that more and more people are working than any time in South Carolina history,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the state workforce agency. “For the last five months — including this last month in which we experienced a historic and devastating flood — we are seeing our unemployment rate drop to levels not seen in years.

“And equally encouraging is the ongoing success of the projects and programs across the state that bridge job seekers with the more than 65,000 jobs available in South Carolina.”

Among the state’s metro areas, Charleston and Greenville recorded jobless rates of 5% in October, while Columbia registered 5.5% and Florence was at 6.8%.

Three counties — Charleston, Greenville and Jasper — recorded the lowest jobless rate in October, at 4.7%.

In the Midlands, Lexington County’s unemployment rate was 4.8% and Richland County was at 5.8%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.0% from 5.1%.

October seasonally adjusted nonfarm payrolls increased from September by 6,600 to reach a record 2,022,400. Compared with a year ago, seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs were up 57,100.

Sectors reporting job gains included professional and business services, up 6,700; education and health services, up 2,700; manufacturing, up 600; trade, transportation and utilities, up 500; and government, up 100.

Sectors losing jobs were financial activities, down 1,400; leisure and hospitality, down 1,100; other services, down 800; construction, down 600; and information, down 100.

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