South Carolina Unemployment

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South Carolina Unemployment Stats and News

South Carolina Unemployment Stats

Current and Historical South Carolina Stats Analysis

As of August 2016, South Carolina’s unemployment rate is on a steady decline . The statewide unemployment rate fell for the fourth month in a row, down to to 5.1 percent, the state’s lowest unemployment rate since May 2001. This rate is slightly above the national average of 4.9 percent, but the jobs outlook for South Carolina is positive. Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, says, “In the last year, more than 54,000 people have found work and are again providing for themselves. However, we still have work to do in finding jobs for the 117,000 unemployed.”

While unemployment stats may be looking up for much of the state, job growth is still not positive across all areas. Lexington County had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.4 percent, but Bamberg County was at 10.5 percent unemployment, with Orangeburg, Marlboro, and Marion Counties not far behind, in July 2016. In the third quarter of 2014, South Carolina boasted the second to lowest unemployment rate among African Americans in the country, at 8.7 percent compared to 5.3 percent among white Americans, according to the Economic Policy Institute. In 2016, the gap has widened, with 9.4 percent unemployment among African Americans and 4.2 percent among whites.

Industries that experienced the most job growth in 2016 include Professional and Business Services, Education and Health Services, Government, Construction, and Transportation and Utilities. While some western states have been seeing a major decline in mining and logging industries, South Carolina’s mining and logging sector stayed pretty much the same. The Information sector has cut payroll jobs in South Carolina, most likely due to the growing IT scene on the northern part of the West Coast.

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South Carolina Unemployment News  

South Carolina Unemployment in the News

South Carolina’s unemployment rate has been steadily declining over the summer months, but the end of the farm season also means job losses in the farming industry and businesses that provide services for farmers in some of the more rural counties. Anderson County lost 633 jobs between July and August, causing the county’s unemployment stats to go up slightly to 5.2 percent. In 35 of 46 South Carolina counties, the unemployment rate stayed about the same or barely shifted. The 11 counties that saw a decrease in employment were all mostly rural areas, except Spartanburg, and most of the job loss was experienced by farm workers.

Some residents of the 35 South Carolina counties affected by disastrous flooding a year ago are still trying to recover, and communities, including employers, are slowly recouping their losses after businesses shut down and workers experienced personal tragedies. About 650 flood victims received disaster unemployment benefits to help them and their families cope, and communities received more than $164 million in relief aid to help recovery efforts. One year later, the damage has been minimized. Roads have been repaired, employers have settled their insurance claims, and people are returning to work.

One urban community is taking big strides toward improving their education and unemployment rates with innovative training programs taught by skilled volunteers. In Charleston’s underserved Eastside neighborhood, a community plagued by poverty and unemployment, developers, engineers, project managers, and other tech pros are teaching children how to code for free. The CodeOn program started in March, with donated laptops, tablets, and Wi-Fi routers. The group’s goal is to expand the CodeOn program throughout Charleston and, eventually, across the country. The group’s founders want to start by offering 24/7 access to computer labs. They also want to open CodeOn programs in local foster homes and churches, and they’re in current talks about a partnership with the Goodwill. This is a breakthrough model that could make a big impact on unemployment, now in Charleston, maybe later the entire U.S.

Nina Magnesson, one of CodeOn’s organizers, says, "Our goal is to break down socio-economic barriers that are keeping so many kids away from technology and future life opportunities." With the right training in such a big, and high-paying, jobs sector, disadvantaged kids can get a chance to change their life path, add in-demand skills to the job market, and help strengthen the economy.


[Kristin Coultier. Statement on August 2016 Unemployment Rate. Department of Employment and Workforce. Sep 20, 2016. Accessed Sep 27, 2016]

[Local Area Unemployment Statistics Map. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.Accessed Sept. 27, 2016]

[Economic Policy Institute.Accessed Sept. 27, 2016]

[Statement on August 2016 Unemployment Rate. Palmetto Workforce Connections. Sept. 20, 2016. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016]

[Anderson County, S.C. lose farm jobs. Independent Mail (USA Today). Sept. 22, 2016. Accessed Sept. 27, 2016]

[One Year of Progress Following Historic South Carolina Floods. News 2. Sept. 27, 2016.]

[Laundromat with a classroom: Charleston's outreach to underserved kids. CNN-Money. Sept. 27, 2016]