Unemployment rate climbs to 18.4 percent

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By The Staff

Lancaster County’s jobless rate climbed to 18.4 percent in February, up 0.9 percent from January.

The county has the seventh-highest unemployment rate in the state.

According to the S.C. Employment Security Commission, Lancaster County has a labor force of 30,028, and 5,530 of those people were unemployed in February.

South Carolina’s unemployment rate in February rose to 11 percent, the second-highest rate in the nation behind Michigan.

The state’s jobless rate is seven-tenths of a point higher than the revised January rate of 10.3 percent, and the highest jobless rate in the state since March 1983, when the rate was 11.1 percent.

The state’s labor force grew slightly (by 5,597) to almost 2.2 million. But the number of unemployed jumped by 15,100 to 241,000, according to the state Employment Security Commission

 Some industries reported notable job gains over the month. Manufacturing and construction continued to reduce payrolls with decreases of 5,400 and 2,100, respectively.

Financial activities cut 2,300 positions over the month.

Among those adding jobs in February were professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, retail trade, education, health services and government.

The national unemployment rate rose from 7.6 percent in January to 8.1 percent in February.