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S.C. unemployment rate estimated at 8.6% in July

Staff Report //August 21, 2020//

S.C. unemployment rate estimated at 8.6% in July

Staff Report //August 21, 2020//

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The S.C. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.6% from June’s estimate of 8.7.%, with the number of South Carolinians working increasing by more than 16,000 to 2,242,832.

Unemployment estimates for July increased by 353 people to 211,965 people and are up 147,665 from July 2019, according to data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. The estimated number of South Carolinians working, while up 16,049 from June, is down 67,088 from July 2019.  

The state’s estimated labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, increased to 2,454,797, up 16,402 from June and 80,577 from July 2019.

Nationally, the unemployment rate (.pdf) dropped to 10.2% in July from 11.1% in June.

S.C. industries reporting increases in July included professional and business services, which gained 6,300 jobs, and leisure and hospitality, which gained 2,500. Trade, transportation and utilities saw a drop of 5,700 jobs, while construction lost 500 jobs.

The unemployment rate in Richland County, which stood at 3% in July 2019, remained unchanged from June to July at 8.7%. Lexington County, which had an unemployment rate of 2.5% in July 2019, saw a slight drop to 6.3% in July from 6.5% in June.

Allendale and Marlboro counties shared the state’s highest July unemployment rate at 14%.

“With a decreased unemployment rate, it’s no surprise that July’s release shows a promising trend of people rejoining the workforce,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a news release. “If we compare the number of employed South Carolinians in April (2,089,889) to July (2,242,832), it shows that 152,943 South Carolinians have rejoined the workforce. If we compare the number of people with jobs in March (2,334,652) to July’s (2,242,832), it shows that 91,820 individuals will need to find work in order to get back to pre-pandemic employment numbers.”

Unemployment in S.C. climbed as high as 12.8% in April as the COVID-19 pandemic forced business closures and layoffs.

“Overall, I believe our state should be pleased with the recovery-driven direction of our economy,” Ellzey said. “We are encouraged by the steady improvements.”