South Carolina’s jobless rate decreased in February, which marked the highest number of employment in the state since 2008, state officials said today.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce reported the unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in February, down 0.1 percent from January,

The agency added that there were 1,991,575 people employed in the state last month, the highest level since August 2008. The largest employment gains for the month were in government, leisure, hospitality and education sectors.

February’s unemployment rate was 0.8 percent lower than the same month in 2012.

The unemployment rate for the Charleston metro area was 6.8 percent in February, down from 7.3 percent in January. The region’s unemployment rate for February was 1.2 percent lower than the month a year ago.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in

February.

Check postandcourier.com for updates.