Unemployment dips slightly in November

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By Travis Jenkins

Despite a slight dip in the number of employed persons, Chester County’s unemployment rate was down in November.

For the month, the county’s unemployment rate stood at 4.3 percent, down from 4.5 in October. In November, there were 13,083 employed persons in the county, down by 44 from the month before. The number of people who were unemployed, seeking work and collecting unemployment compensation was also down, going from 623 in October to 585 in November, leading to the overall drop in the unemployment rate. The total workforce, which includes both employed persons and those drawing unemployment, was at 13,668, down from 13,750 the previous month.

One year ago, Chester County’s unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, with 12,866 employed persons, 753 people on the unemployment rolls and a total workforce of 13,619.

In November, Chester unemployment rate was tied for 10th-highest in the state and most surrounding counties remained in the top half of the state’s rankings. Fairfield County’s rate of 5.1 was tied for the fourth-highest, Union County (3.7 percent) was tied for the state’s 17th-highest rate and Lancaster (3.5 percent) was tied for the 20th-highest. Cherokee County’s rate (3.4 percent) placed it dead in the middle (23rd) and York County had one of the state’s lowest rates at 2.9 percent.

The number of individuals working across the state increased considerably by an estimated 4,202 people to a level of 2,235,289, setting yet another record.

Unemployment estimates showed little change over the month, increasing by 474 to 76,694 people. The state’s labor force increased by 4,676 to 2,311,983 people, as the many jobseekers entering the labor force found employment.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 3.3 percent.

Since November of 2017, employment gains totaled approximately 14,100 people, and the labor force declined by nearly 7,150 people. The level of unemployed moved markedly lower by approximately 21,250 people.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged for the third consecutive month at 3.7 percent.

In November, seasonally-adjusted, nonfarm payrolls increased by 3,400 over the month to a record high level of 2,138,000.

  • The increase in employment was primarily due to changes in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+1,500). Additional increases were seen in Financial Activities (+900); Government (+900); Manufacturing (+600); Education and Health Services (+500); and Leisure and Hospitality (+100). Construction and Information remained steady during this period.
  • The industries reporting declines during the same period were Professional and Business Services (-1,100) and Other Services (-100).

Compared to November 2017, South Carolina’s economy has added 32,800 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs.

  • Industries with noticeable gains were Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+12,200); Leisure and Hospitality (+7,600); Education and Health Services (+6,300); Manufacturing (+3,600); Government (+3,300); Professional and Business Services (+2,300); and Financial Activities (+900).
  • Declines were reported in Construction (-3,100); and Information (-400); and Other Services (-100).

Not seasonally adjusted payroll employment increased by 8,700 from October to November 2018 for a total of 2,149,000 as businesses continue to rebound from an active weather season.

  • Industries contributing to the increase are: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+8,700); Government (+3,100); Manufacturing (+1,400); Financial Activities (+400); Education and Health Services (+300); Mining and Logging (+100); and Information (+100).
  • Industries declining during the month were Leisure and Hospitality (-4,200); Construction (-600); Other Services (-500); and Professional and Business Services (-100).


Since November 2017, not seasonally adjusted jobs were up 34,700 overall in South Carolina.


  • Industries marking strong annual gains were Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+13,100); Leisure and Hospitality (7,100); Education and Health Services (+6,000); Government (+3,800); Manufacturing (+3,700); Professional and Business Services (+3,700); Financial Activities (+900); and Mining and Logging (+200).
  • The industries reporting declines were Construction (-3,100); and Information (-400); and Other Services (-300).