S.C.’s October unemployment rate falls to 4.2%

Study ranks state’s recovery the 10th best in nation

S.C.’s October unemployment rate falls to 4.2%
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says the unemployment rate in South Carolina for the Month of October dropped nearly a full percentage point from September. (Source: Live 5/File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says the unemployment rate in South Carolina for the Month of October dropped nearly a full percentage point from September.

SCDEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey called October’s unemployment rate of 4.2%, down from 5.1% in September, “a huge stepping stone in the economic recovery process” for the state.

At 4.2%, the state’s unemployment rate is only a few percentage points higher than January’s historic low rate of 2.4%, he said.

“This development indicates a massive shift in South Carolinians going back to work,” Ellzey said.

Ellzey said the number of unemployed people in South Carolina fell from 125,120 in September to 100,333 in October.

“And, the important part is that these people left the ranks of the unemployed because they got a job, not because they gave up on looking for a job,” Ellzey said. “At the same time that roughly 25,000 people left the ranks of the unemployed, approximately 28,000 additional South Carolinians became employed. That is a remarkable development.”

Ellzey said there are currently more than 81,000 jobs posted in the SC Works Online Services portal.

“The reality is, opportunity is knocking and the partners at SC Works centers statewide are prepared and ready to help job seekers fill these open positions,” Ellzey said.

Ellzey said the agency has been “dual-focused” since the pandemic began in South Carolina.

“We are helping those who need temporary financial assistance with unemployment insurance benefits while simultaneously looking for new ways to promote workforce opportunities,” he said. “In fact, we are launching Project Job One, a new communications effort to promote the 81,000 job postings that are waiting for the right candidates to apply and step into long-term financial stability.”

He says their goal is for the state to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever before, something he acknowledges won’t be easy and will take time.

But, he says, “we know South Carolinians are up for the challenge.”

Since the pandemic began, South Carolina has paid out a total of $4.59 billion in state and federal benefits.

Study ranks S.C.’s unemployment recovery rate as 10th best in October

A study by WalletHub said South Carolina is experiencing the nation’s 10th best unemployment rate recovery, placing the Palmetto State as the only southern U.S. state to make the top 10.

The national unemployment rate stands at 6.9%, down from the nearly historic high of 14.7% at the peak of the pandemic. The study examined all 50 states and the District of Columba based on four key metrics:

  • Change in each state’s unemployment during October 2020 compared to October 2019
  • Change in each state’s unemployment during October 2020 compared to January 2020
  • Non-Seasonally adjusted continued claims in October 2020 compared to October 2019
  • Each state’s overall unemployment rate

Compared with October 2019, South Carolina saw a 71.09% change in unemployment, with 97,321 unemployed people this October compared with 56,883 in October of last year. That is the 25th best recovery in the nation, the study found.

The state recorded a 38.28% change in unemployment from January to October of this year, with 97,321 people unemployed in October compared with 70,380 in January, marking the 26th best recovery in the U.S.

Its study listed the state’s unemployment rate at 4.1%, two-tenths of a percentage point lower than the state’s official data, but said that was the 10th lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

The study lists Iowa’s recovery as the strongest in the nation in October, followed by Nebraska and Vermont. Missouri and South Dakota rounded out the top five.

It ranked North Carolina at 27th place, Georgia at 35th place and Florida at 41st.

Hawaii, whose unemployment the study lists as 14.2%, ranked at the bottom of the list.

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