UNION COUNTY — The unemployment rate in Union County fell for third straight month in a row with approximately 20 residents finding jobs in April.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce announced that South Carolina’s unemployment rate decreased from 8.4 percent in March to 8 percent in April. In April 2012, the state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent. The report stated that April’s unemployment rate was the lowest since October 2008 and was the largest month-to-decrease for the state since May 1987.
Nationally, the unemployment declined slightly to 7.5 percent.
The SCDEW reported that the number of South Carolinians employed rose from 1,992,143 in March to 1,995,078 in April, an increase of 2,935. This growth in the ranks of the employed made April the 10th consecutive month of job growth in South Carolina.
The number of the unemployed in the state dropped from 182,590 in March to 174,352 in April, a decrease of 8,238. In April 2012 there were 200,895 people unemployed in South Carolina.
The size the state’s labor force also declined between March and April, going from 2,174,733 to 2,169,430, a decrease of 5,303. This was still higher than in April 2012 when the state’s labor force totaled 2,169,009 people.
Among the state’s industries, leisure and hospitality had its third consecutive monthly gain in April, adding 8,700 jobs with seasonal hiring. The report states that the growth was due to seasonal hiring in the coastal areas of the state and in Columbia.
Job growth also occurred in Professional and Business Services (2,700); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (2,300), Construction (1,300); Education and Health Services (1,300), and Financial Activities (700).
The only industry that reported job losses in April was Manufacturing with a loss of 900 jobs.
As in March, all of South Carolina’s 46 counties reported a decrease in unemployment including Union County which went from an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent in March to 12.1 percent in April. This was the third month in a row the county’s unemployment rate has declined. In April 2012 the county’s unemployment rate was 13.6 percent.
The continuing decrease in the county’s unemployment rate was again due to a combination of an increase in the number of employed and a decrease in the size of the workforce.
April saw the number of Union County residents with jobs increased from 10,002 in March to 10,020 in April, a gain of 18. In April 2012 there were 9,820 Union County residents with jobs.
The county’s workforce decreased from 11,469 in March to 11,403 in April, a loss of 66. This was still more than in April 2012 when the county’s workforce totaled 11,360.
Roy Lowe, center manager for the SCWorks Union office, said the job gains experienced by the county in April is due to a continuing increase in hiring by local and area employers. Lowe pointed out that there were 168 new job orders representing a total of 1,935 jobs posted on the SC Workforce online system in April by employers in Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties looking to hire workers. He said that number included 15 job orders representing a total of 79 jobs posted by employers in Union County alone.
While the SCDEW reported 18 Union County residents got jobs in April, Lowe said the SC Workforce online system reported 21 local residents being hired during the month. Lowe said the SCDEW gets its statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor while the SC Workforce online system’s statistics are based on reports from employers. He said that some employers take longer than others to send in their report so the number of Union County residents hired in April could actually be even higher than currently reported.
Despite this, Lowe said the numbers available show genuine job growth is occurring.
“Twenty-one placed, that’s not bad,” Lowe said. “We’d like to see a whole lot more, but that shows movement in the right direction.”
As for the decline in the county’s workforce, Lowe pointed out that a county’s workforce often fluctuates as people move from one community or one state to another, illness, retirement, death, and people stopping looking for work.
Even though it declined for a third month in a row, Union County’s unemployment rate was still the sixth-highest in South Carolina.
The counties with higher unemployment rates were Barnwell County (12.4 percent), Bamberg County (12.6 percent), Marlboro County (13 percent), Allendale County (13.9 percent), and Marion County (15 percent).
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.