South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped despite seasonal layoffs

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 10:25 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:17 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina says the unemployment rate for the state fell two-tenths of a point in December, the latest data available.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the month of December dropped to 3.5%, the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce said Tuesday. That’s down from 3.7% in November.

“We ended 2021 with more good news. South Carolina set a new record for the highest number of individuals working in our state’s history,” Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey said. “Employment rose in December by 3,008 to a total of 2,320,717 employed. That is 97,237 more than last December and 21,376 more than the pre-pandemic number.”

Ellzey said the state’s unemployment rate is moving “closer and closer to our pre-pandemic rate.”

A spike in initial unemployment claims in December and January, Ellzey said, happens every December and January because of seasonal hirings and layoffs, adding they expect the number to drop going into the first quarter of 2022.

“Another interesting trend to report is that wages have increased in the state by approximately 7.5% since the beginning of 2020,” Ellzey said.

In fact, industries like education and healthcare, construction, as well as leisure and hospitality, have experienced more than a 15% increase in the past two years.

State employment officials said the highest job gains were in the trade, transportation and utilities; manufacturing, education and health services; and leisure and hospitality fields.

Professional and business services; construction, financial activities, information and government industries showed job losses in December, the data states.

Industry TypeJob Gains/Losses
Trade, Transportation and Utilities+2,700
Education and Health Services+1,100
Other Services+500
Leisure and Hospitality+400
Financial Activities-500
Professional and Business Services-2,100

A seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate removes the effects of events that follow a more-or-less regular pattern each year, such as tourist-related hiring and summer closings.

The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell three-tenths of a point in December from 4.2% to 3.9%.

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