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Unemployment drops to 5% in April in S.C.

Human Resources
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Unemployment in South Carolina dropped to 5% in April from 5.1% in March, according to the latest household survey from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

While industries including education and health services, which added 2,300 workers, and construction, which added 600, reported gains, others saw drops, including manufacturing, which lost 2,500 jobs. Professional and business services lost 2,300 jobs, while financial activities and leisure and hospitality each lost 1,300.

From April 2020 to April 2021, South Carolina’s economy has gained 224,700 jobs, according to DEW, led by the addition of 85,600 in leisure and hospitality. Trade, transportation and utilities added 41,300 jobs in the 12-month period, while professional and business services added 29,100.

No industries reported decreases over the year.

A directive from S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster will end federal unemployment benefits in South Carolina by June 26, according to Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director. Ellzey said in a statement that DEW has also begun referring claimants to some of the 82,000 jobs posted with the agency.

“These referrals are mandatory, and claimants are required to participate to maintain their benefits,” Ellzey said. “Rest assured that we are only referring claimants to the types of jobs with which they have experience in their background.”

Claimants are also required to complete two weekly job searches in the SC Works Online Services system to maintain their unemployment benefits.

From March to April 2021, the number of South Carolinians working fell by 4,186 people to 2,263,256, while unemployment estimates decreased by 2,278 people to 118,377. In April 2020, the state had 176,994 more unemployed people and an unemployment estimate of 152,386 more people, according to DEW.

South Carolina’s estimated labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, decreased by 6,464 people month-to-month, dropping to 2,381,633 in April 2021. That number represented an increase of 24,608 from April 2020 estimates.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased to 6.1% in April 2021 from 6% in March 2021.

The Columbia metropolitan statistical area added 900 jobs month-to-month, while the Spartanburg MSA added 600. Charleston/North Charleston lost 4,200 jobs, while Greenville/Anderson/Mauldin lost 3,200.

Unemployment fell from March to April 2021 in every S.C. county except Orangeburg, which saw an increase to 7.9% from 7.8%. In Richland County, unemployment dropped from 4.9% in March to 4.5% in April, while Lexington County saw a decrease from 3.6% to 3.3%.

In April 2021, unemployment stood at 8.2% in Richland County and at 6.8% in Lexington County.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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