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Data show increase in wages throughout SC in last 2 years

Human Resources
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Local and federal data found that eight of 10 South Carolina metropolitan statistical areas have seen wage increases in the last two years.

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce’s examination of labor market information from April 2020 to April 2022 found a 9.2% statewide increase in average weekly earnings in that time period, paced by a 20.6% increase in the Myrtle Beach/Conway/North Myrtle Beach MSA.

April 2020 represents the height of disruption attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from the state agency.

Average statewide weekly earnings for private-sector workers climbed from $870.13 in April 2020 to $950.37 in April 2022, according to preliminary data from DEW’s LMI division and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While BLS data show that a record 90,000 South Carolinians quit their jobs in March 2022, 122,000 were hired the same month, according to the release.

“The presence of 189,000 job openings, representing a 37% increase from one year prior, no doubt contributed to this churn. … While there has been an increase in job turnover, the data clearly indicate that the number of people working in South Carolina has never been higher,” Bryan Grady, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce LMI director, said.

DEW attributed the job shifts to employees leaving lower-paying jobs for higher-paying ones, with wage gains seen in “most economic sectors,” according to the release. Leisure and hospitality led the way with a 29.1% weekly wage increase in the two-year period, with education and health services seeing a 22.9% increase and construction a 17% increase.   

The Columbia MSA saw a 4.9% weekly wage increase in the two-year time frame, from $856.13 to $891.10, while Charleston/North Charleston saw a 10.9% increase and Greenville/Anderson/Mauldin a 3.9% increase. Spartanburg saw a 12.6% jump.

Decreases were recorded in Hilton Head Island/Bluffton/Beaufort (minus-0.6%) and Augusta/Richmond County Ga./S.C. (minus-0.8%).

“While employees navigate this shift, many employers are reacting at the same time to retain and attract talent, leading to a competitive job market,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in the release.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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