UNION — The holiday season continued to be a good one for Union County as the county’s unemployment rate declined for the fourth month in a row.
In a report issued this week, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce announced that state unemployment rate fell from 8.6 percent in October to 8.3 percent in November. This was the fourth consecutive month the state’s unemployment rate has fallen and the lowest it has been since the fourth quarter of 2008.
The report also stated that since November 2011, the state’s unemployment rate has declined by 1.5 percent.
In addition to the continued decline in the unemployment rate, the size of the state’s workforce grew, totaling 2,141,330 people, an increase of 3,324.
Nationally, the unemployment rate declined slightly from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent. The report attributed this primarily to 350,000 people leaving the workforce.
Looking to the future, the report states that demand for workers looks to remain strong in the health care industry and, together with expected gains in manufacturing should prove to be further boosts for business growth in 2013.
Retail hiring, however, is close to it holiday season peak and the report states there will likely be layoffs in January once the seasonal retail sales decrease. However, the report states that beginning in late February and early March, warmer weather will begin drawing tourist to the state, especially in the coastal area which should provide a boost for South Carolina’s leisure and hospitality industries.
It concludes that South Carolina is experiencing “gradual, but steady growth.”
Like the state, Union County’s unemployment rate has also declined for four consecutive months, falling from 14.8 percent in July to 14.6 percent in August to 13 percent in September to 12.8 percent in October to 12.6 percent in November.
Union County was one of 18 counties in the state to see its unemployment rate decrease in November. Of the rest, 24 experienced increases while four others had no change in their unemployment rates.
Still sixth in the state
Despite the decrease in November, Union County still has the sixth highest unemployment rate in South Carolina. The counties with higher unemployment rates in November were Barnwell (13.3 percent), Bamberg (13.6 percent), Marlboro (14 percent), Allendale (15.2 percent), and Marion (15.8 percent).