SC unemployment rate rises for 4th straight month, up to 6.7 percent in October



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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The jobless rate in South Carolina has risen for the fourth month in a row, with the state's seasonally adjusted rate increasing slightly from 6.6 percent in September to 6.7 percent in October, officials said Friday.

In a news release, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce said the estimated number of unemployed people in the state rose by 2,291 in September over a month earlier, reaching 146,713.

Nationally, the unemployment rate went down last month, dropping to 5.8 percent in October from 5.9 percent in September.

Marion County registered South Carolina's highest unemployment rate, with 11.3 percent. Saluda and Lexington counties registered the lowest, with 5.1 percent for each.

The state's unemployment rate for the month compared favorably to one year ago. In October 2013, the rate was 7 percent, with 153,030 people out of work, the agency reported.

Officials said the state labor force increased during the month by some 9,487 people, bringing the total labor force to a historic high of nearly 2.2 million people.

"As the state's economy continues to grow, South Carolinians are seeking new employment opportunities," Cheryl Stanton, director of the Department of Employment and Workforce, said in a written statement. "DEW will work with job seekers to match them with the more than 65,000 available jobs."

The state agency reported that in October, the seasonally adjusted, non-farm payroll increased by 4,900 with growth of 2,600 in the education and health services sectors and an increase of 2,100 positions in manufacturing.

In non-agriculture employment, the government category saw an increase of 4,100 positions and professional and business services rose by 2,800 jobs. However, the leisure and hospitality industry dropped 2,200 positions and the information sector lost 100 positions.

On the national level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that South Carolina was one of five states that registered increases in unemployment.

"In October, 34 states and the District of Columbia had over-the-month unemployment rate decreases, five states had increases, and 11 states had no change," the Bureau reported in a written statement.

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