South Carolina’s unemployment rate spiked to 10.9 percent in July – the second large monthly jump in a row and the highest rate this year. The rate had dipped to 9.8 percent in April but has climbed steadily since then.
The state’s labor force, however, continued to grow in a sign that more people – including recent graduates and people moving to the state -- are looking for work. The labor force added 4,100 people last month, its largest spike this year, according to figures released today by the S.C. Department of Unemployment and Workforce.
“As people hear about job announcements in South Carolina, they are re-entering the labor force searching for employment opportunities,” John Finan, executive director of the department, said in a statement. “While the unemployment rate ticked up this month, it is a promising sign that those people once discouraged about seeking work are now joining the labor force. However, competition in the state is tough as there are currently more job seekers than job openings. We feel confident as the number of new job announcements come to fruition; our state unemployment rate will again begin to trend down.”
The total number of unemployed grew by 10,360 people to 236,420 for July. Government agencies continued to shed jobs, losing 13,600 last month.
Most other sectors grew, with manufacturing reporting the biggest gain at 1,800. Manufacturing is up 10,700 jobs from the same month last year and average hourly earnings in the sector are up to $16.63, a 27-cent increase from June.