S.C. Unemployment heads back above 11%; Charleston up too

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South Carolina's unemployment rate once again rose, this time from 10.9% in July to 11.1% in August.

Faulted for the number shift is both an increase in the state's labor force (up 2,855) and a decrease in payrolls (down 492). In the Charleston metro area although the labor force shrank by 3,336, the overall trend was much the same and our unemployment went from 9.5% to 9.6%.

Charleston County held steady at 9.4%, Dorchester improved from 9.2% to 9.1%, and Berkeley improved from 10.2% to 10.1%.

As for an overview of the situation, the state Department of Employment and Workforce wrote:

South Carolina's nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 1,700; however, manufacturing continued to show positive job growth with a seventh consecutive monthly gain in employment since January 2011. Manufacturing employment went up 800 from a month ago and up 11,000 from a year ago. South Carolina has led the southeastern region in manufacturing job growth, by nearly doubling the increase posted by Kentucky--the state with the next highest growth rate. Within the manufacturing sector, durable goods saw a positive employment increase. Contributing to the durable goods' gain was: Primary Metal and Fabricated Metal Products Manufacturing (+200) and Transportation Equipment Manufacturing (+200).

There were encouraging gains in several other major industry sectors as well: Professional and Business Services (+1,200), Education and Health Services (+500), and Government (+1,400). Job growth in these industry sectors helped minimize this month's decline in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities and Leisure and Hospitality. Over the year, the total jobs count is 16,500 higher than for August 2010, with the private employers adding 32,200 jobs. The 12-month growth was fueled by Manufacturing, Leisure and Hospitality, and Professional and Business Services sectors.

The Conference Board's Help Wanted Online Index reflected that nationally, there was a decline in the number of ads posted by employers in August. The number of online ads in South Carolina fell by 1,900 to 45,200 ads from July to August, with neighboring states experiencing similar trends: Florida's on-line ads were down 14,700, Georgia lost 8,100 and Alabama dropped 2,900. 

As always, keep up with local unemployment news on our topic page.

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