Unemployment rate, number of employed, fall in November

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By Travis Jenkins

The unemployment rate dropped in Chester in November, but so did the number of employed persons.
For the month, Chester County's unemployment rate stood at 12.5 percent, down from 12.8 percent in October. The total number of people with jobs stood at 12,644, which is actually 22 less than the month before. The rate drop came about because of a reduction in the number of people collecting unemployment compensation. In November, that number was 1,808, down from 1,863 in the previous month. Since there was not a corresponding increase in the number of jobs, it can be assumed 55 people either stopped looking for work or had their benefits expire. The total workforce, which includes everyone that is employed and those that are unemployed, seeking work and collecting unemployment compensation stands at 14,452, down from 14,529 in October.
One year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 14.2 percent, with 12,393 employed persons and 2,056 collecting unemployment compensation. The total workforce at that time was 14,449.
Chester County's 12.5 percent unemployment rate is the state's ninth highest. Marion has the state's highest rate at 15.8 percent. Allendale, with a rate of 15.2 percent, in the second highest, followed by Marlboro (14 percent), Bamberg (13.6 percent) and Barnwell (13.3 percent).
Most surrounding counties remained in the top half of the state in terms of unemployment. Union was eight with a rate of 12.6 percent. Lancaster was 13th at 11 percent, Cherokee came in 18th with a rate of 10.4 percent and Fairfield was 20th at 10.2 percent. York is no longer among the top half of the state's 46 counties in terms of unemployment rate, coming in at 26th with a rate of 9.2 percent. Of the aforementioned counties, only Fairfield saw their unemployment rate go up. However, as with Chester, Union, Lancaster, Cherokee and York all saw their unemployment rates fall despite losing jobs from the previous month.
For the fourth consecutive month, South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped—to 8.3 percent in November from the October estimate of 8.6 percent.
The number of unemployed people fell over the month by 6,434 to 176,953. There was a rise in the number of employed people, up 9,758 to 1,964,377. The total labor force ticked up slightly (+3,324) to 2,141,330. The unemployment rate has fallen 1.5 percentage points since November 2011.
Nationally, the unemployment rate also fell from 7.9 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November. This was caused mainly by a drop of 350,000 in the overall labor force.
Since October 2012, South Carolina’s nonagricultural employment (not seasonally-adjusted) increased 7,100 to 1,880,900. In the last year, the number of jobs in the state was up 33,200 (about 1.8 percent), while the number of jobs in the U.S. grew by 1.4 percent.
With the Christmas holidays rapidly approaching, increased hiring in retail trade pushed the trade, transportation and utilities industry up by 1.5 percent or 5,500.
Other positive employment trends were government (+3,100), education and health services (+1,200), manufacturing (+1,100), information (+200) and financial services (+100).
There were some industries that lost employment since October 2012: leisure and hospitality (-2,200 jobs); professional and business services (-1,400); and construction (-700). These industry losses were seen in accommodation and food services in the coastal areas, administrative and support services, and specialty trade contractors. The mining and logging industries were unchanged over the month.
“This is the fourth consecutive month the state’s unemployment rate decreased. This month is especially encouraging as the number of our fellow South Carolinians finding employment increased, and the number of unemployed fell to the lowest level of the year. Looking back at the year as a whole, we have seen an increase of approximately 33,000 jobs statewide. At DEW, we remain diligent in our efforts to match job seekers with employment opportunities," said South Carolina Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner.