Williamsburg County's unemployment rate was 12 percent in November 2012. But last month, it was 9.4 percent.

And while the rural county still needs more jobs, it got some more good economic news Friday.

From a release issued by Gov. Nikki Haley's office:

"A U.S.-based, family-run flag manufacturer that has been in operation for more than 100 years is expanding its existing operations in Williamsburg County. Valley Forge Flag Company's $2.5 million investment is expected to generate 100 new jobs for the area."

The company, which is based in Wyomissing, Pa., will expand into a 300,000-square-foot facility in Kings-tree. It lives up to its "proudly made in the U.S.A." credo by employing U.S. workers and using only American-made materials.

And now it will be employing more S.C. workers.

Gov. Haley offered this justifiably proud reaction to the Valley Forge decision: "South Carolina is where companies can find success, whether in an urban environment or in one of our rural communities."

The push to reduce our state's unemployment rate is also finding success. It dropped to 7.1 percent in November.

That's the lowest level since August 2008 - and the closest our state's jobless level has been to the national rate (7.0 percent last month) since 2002.

Of course, that statistical trend is of limited consolation to the too many South Carolinians who still are looking for work and can't find it.

And while major economic development victories have been achieved in our state's metropolitan areas, joblessness in many rural counties remains quite high.

However, the governor, her commerce department and state lawmakers are clearly making progress in their shared mission of bringing jobs to all parts of South Carolina.

Another upbeat development announced Friday: Benefit-focus, Inc., a prominent player in the field of "cloud-based" software solutions, is expanding its Berkeley County technology campus on Daniel Island from 13 acres to 40 acres. That project is expected to create 1,200 more high-tech jobs.

Obviously, a growing number of companies want to grow their businesses in our state.

And that's an encouraging sign of their rising confidence in the people of South Carolina - including those in rural counties like Williamsburg, where the need for good jobs has been painfully evident for far too long.