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County’s jobless rate falls slightly

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Statewide numbers for October fall, too

By Jesef Williams

Employment in Lancaster County appears to be improving, at least from a statistical standpoint. 

The county had an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent in October, a small drop from the 10.9 percent posted in September, according to figures released last week by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. 

In comparison, Lancaster County posted a 13.4 percent unemployment rate in October 2011. 

Last month, 3,334 people were officially unemployed in the county – a drop of 18 from the previous month. The official labor force grew from 30,670 in September to 30,738 in October. 

The national jobless rate was 7.9 percent in October. In September, it was 7.8 percent. 

South Carolina’s unemployment rate fell from 9.1 percent in September to 8.6 percent in October. 

“The number of unemployed people decreased over the month by 10,814 to 183,024,” the release said. “While the number of employed people climbed by 14,705 to 1,954,801, the labor force saw a modest increase of 3,891 to 2,137,825.” 

Since October 2011, the unemployment rate has fallen 1.5 percentage points. 

“Today’s announcement marks the state’s lowest unemployment rate in nearly four years, as well as the second consecutive month that the unemployment rate has continued a steady decline,” said Abraham J. Turner, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). “While this is certainly welcome news, DEW will continue to work diligently with businesses as it remains steadfast and focused on its efforts to put South Carolinians back to work.” 

The government sector saw the largest gain in October, with more than 5,000 jobs added. The greatest losses were in the leisure/hospitality and information sectors, which reported a combined loss of  about 600 jobs. 

Allendale County had the Palmetto State’s highest unemployment rate for October at 16.6 percent, overtaking Marion County for the top spot. 

In October, Marion County was second at 16 percent and Marlboro County was third at 14.2 percent.  

The lowest jobless rate for October belonged to Lexington County (6.3 percent). Greenville County was second at 6.4 percent and Charleston County was third at 6.5 percent. 

Among South Carolina counties bordering Lancaster County, Chester County had the highest unemployment rate in October at 12.7 percent. 

Chesterfield County posted 10.9 percent, followed by Fairfield (9.5 percent), York (9.4 percent) and Kershaw (7.9 percent) counties. 

 

Contact reporter Jesef Williams  at (803) 283-1152