County’s jobless rate sees increase

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By Jesef Williams

Lancaster County’s official unemployment rate saw a slight increase in January, according to the latest data released Monday, March 18, by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

The county posted 11.9 percent unemployment in January, compared to 11.6 percent in December 2012.

In January, the county’s official labor force was recorded at 32,486, with 3,877 of those people without a job.

In comparison, the January 2012 jobless rate in Lancaster County was 12.9 percent.

South Carolina’s unemployed rate for January 2013 was 8.7 percent – a slight increase from the 8.6 percent posted a month prior.

The national rate went from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January.

County numbers

Lexington County had the Palmetto State’s lowest unemployment rate for January at 6.8 percent. Greenville County was second at 7 percent, followed by Dorchester County at 7.2 percent.

Marion County once again had highest unemployment rate with 19.2 percent. Allendale County was next at 17.2 percent, following by Marlboro County at 15.8 percent.

Among South Carolina counties bordering Lancaster County, Chester County had the highest jobless rate for January at 14.4 percent. That also ranked as the seventh highest in the state for that month.

Chesterfield County posted 12.2 percent for January, followed by Fairfield (12.1 percent), York (11.7 percent) and Kershaw (8.2 percent) counties.

Employment department news

The release of the data came less than a week after state legislators voted to restore 17 unemployment centers that had been shut down last month by the Department of Employment and Workforce.

The department announced the closures as a cost-saving measure.

That move led to S.C. House Reps. Ted Vick and Nelson Hardwick proposing a bipartisan amendment that directs the department to spend up to $1.5 million for staff programs to help the jobless file unemployment benefits and get back to work.

“We need to help the unemployed in our state get back to work,” Vick said last week.

“Instead of closing the offices, this agency should have been looking for ways to increase their effectiveness, particularly in rural counties, which have the highest unemployment rates in the state,” said Vick, who represents Chesterfield County and a portion of Lancaster County.


Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152