(WCSC) - A record number of people entering the labor force pushed up South Carolina's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 5.7 percent in March from 5.5 percent in February, marking the first increase since September 2014.
More than two-thirds of the state's labor force expansion was due to employment growth. The number of individuals working increased in March by 12,079 to a record level of 2,174,788.
Unemployed individuals increased 5,851 to 131,345, while the labor force set a record for the highest ever monthly increase of 17,930, totaling 2,306,133 people.
Over the past year, employment gains tallied 68,757, and the level of unemployed has decreased by 12,574. The labor force had an over-the-year growth of 56,183 people.
Nationally, March's unemployment rate increased to 5 percent from February's rate of 4.9 percent.
"The increase in the labor market has been truly astounding and a positive sign of our growing economy. More people are working than ever in our state's history and our labor force continues to expand as more people decide to enter the job market, including discouraged workers who have been watching our growth from the sidelines," said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. "Businesses are creating opportunities here because they know that South Carolina workers are prepared and have the skills needed to do the job."
Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted)
Seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payrolls in March increased 11,400 over the month to a record high level of 2,040,000.
Healthy increases were recorded in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3,900); Professional and Business Services (+3,800); Construction (+1,700); and Other Services (+1,000). Additional growth occurred in Education and Health Services (+800); Information (+100); Leisure and Hospitality (+100); and Government (+100). Financial Activities remained the same, while Manufacturing (-100) saw a slight reduction.
Compared to a year ago, nonfarm jobs were up 52,800 with Professional and Business Services (+12,500) and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+11,500) leading the increase. Additional over-the-year growth was reflected in Education and Health Services (+8,500); Construction (+7,200); Government (+3,600); Manufacturing (+3,200); Leisure and Hospitality (+3,200); Other Services (+2,700); and Financial Activities (+400). Only Information (-200) saw a drop.
Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment increased 27,800 from February 2016 to March 2016 to total 2,035,000.
Growth was concentrated in the service-providing industry with Leisure and Hospitality (+9,100) leading the way. Additional increases were seen in Professional and Business Services (+6,000); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,200); Government (+1,900); Construction (+1,800); Other Services (+1,700); Education and Health Services (+1,600); Manufacturing (+200); Information (+200); and Financial Activities (+100). Mining and Logging remained the same.
Since March 2015, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up 55,900 overall in the state's workforce. Industries leading the gain were Professional and Business Services (+12,500); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+11,200); Education and Health Services (+9,100); Construction (+7,000); Government (+5,300); Leisure and Hospitality (+4,800); Manufacturing (+2,700); Other Services (+2,400); Financial Activities (+900); and Mining and Logging (+200). Information (-200) saw a small year-over-year decline.