SC leaders look to improve unemployment rate in 2014

CHESTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - New job numbers released Friday by The U.S. Department of Labor show a drop in the unemployment rate for South Carolina to 7.1 percent in November, down four-tenths of a point since October.

It's the closest the state has been to the national rate since 2002, which currently sits at 7 percent.

While some counties like York are seeing success, its neighbor Chester County, historically has not.

County leaders told WBTV they plan to turn things around in 2014.

"It's been Kind of hard," said job seeker Dienn Matott.

Work has been tough to come by for Matott.

She's been trying to find steady work in York County, one of the state's more booming counties, for 2 years.

Now she plans on moving to Chester County, one of the state's worst counties for jobs, because of an optimistic future.

"Well I live in York and jobs are very hard to come by up there. I'm originally from Chester and jobs here are booming, I believe," said Matott.

Back in October, Chester County officials announced JN Fibers Inc. will bring in more than 300 jobs to the area and now they're saying that's just the start of more businesses coming to the county.

"At one point we were bleeding like someone cut our throat, just bleeding jobs. It was a terrible thing, but now in the last year or so, it's turned around," said Chester County Supervisor Carlisle Roddey.

Roddey says the county's Economic Development Commission is already in talks to bring several major businesses to Chester in the new year.

He believes this is the kick start that the county needs to reduce its unemployment rate which sat at 10.2 percent in October.

"I think it's going to be a very prosperous new year because I think we're on the verge of some fairly nice size businesses coming to Chester County," said Roddey.

As for Matott, she remains positive that jobs in her home county will flourish next year.

"I'm confident it's going to be a booming 2014," said Matott.

According to Governor Nikki Haley's office, more than two million South Carolinians are now employed, the highest level since July 2008.

This month's unemployment rate for the Palmetto State marks four straight months of decline.

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