CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina's unemployment rate hit an all-time high last month based on figures released Friday.
South Carolina's unemployment rate rose sharply in December to 12.6 percent, from a November rate of 12.3 percent, the State Employment Security Commission reported. December's jobless figures set a record high for the state. Estimates produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the state's labor force at 2.1 million in December, a decrease of 6,720. The number of unemployed increased 6,352 to 273,175.
The national unemployment rate was 10 percent in December, unchanged from November.
The state's job count decreased by 9,900 in December, with most of the decreases occurring in Professional and Business Services (-4,000), Leisure and Hospitality (-5,200), and Manufacturing (-800). Partially offsetting the losses were gains in Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (+1,000), and Retail Trade (+700). Of note, slight gains in Construction were observed for the first time since May of 2009. The state's overall job count was 38,100 below the year-ago level and nearly 109,900 below the December 2007 level when the recent recession began.
"December's labor force levels were the lowest since September, 2008, and we have seen unemployment reach record levels in South Carolina. A net increase in private sector job creation is our number one public policy problem, and a net increase in private job creation will be pivotal in reversing the trend in state's unemployment rate," said Sam Foster, interim executive director of the Commission.