Ups and downs

The S.C. jobless rate edged up in July but is well below year-ago levels.

County July June July '13

Charleston 5.4% 4.8% 6.8%

Berkeley 5.8% 5.5% 6.9%

Dorchester 5.8% 4.8% 6.3%

Source: S.C. Department of Workforce & Employment

South Carolina's slowly decreasing unemployment rate over the past several months hit bottom this summer and is now rising.

The jobless rate rose to 5.7 percent in July after holding steady at 5.3 percent in May and June, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said Monday.

In the Charleston metro area, the unemployment rate also climbed, rising to 5.6 percent from 5.1 percent. A year ago, the regional rate was 6.6 percent.

In the state, the number of people out of work grew by 9,124 to 124,670. The labor force also increased by more than 2,600 to nearly 2.2 million.

Nationally, the jobless rate jumped slightly to 6.2 percent in July from 6.1 percent in June.

The jump in South Carolina was among the largest month-to-month increases in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Two other states - Georgia and Wyoming also - had jobless rate increases of four-tenths of a percentage point. Tennessee's rate went up by half a percentage point, BLS officials said.

Monthly unemployment went up in 30 states, according to federal officials. National unemployment went up slightly in July, from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent.

Over the last month, jobs in South Carolina's professional and business services and education and health services went down by 5,500 positions.

Leisure and hospitality jobs, along with construction jobs, were up by 1,600.

Unemployment in July went up in all of South Carolina's 46 counties and was highest in Bamberg County, at 12.1 percent. Lexington and Saluda counties tied for the state's lowest rate, at 5.1 percent.

Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the Department of Employment and Workforce, downplayed the month-to-month uptick, pointing out in a written statement that unemployment in the state is down by about 2 percentage points compared to a year ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.