In Berkeley County, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.5 percent to 3.8 percent during the last month, but it still has a way to go to get back to pre-COVID-19 numbers. The unemployment rate in October 2019 was 2.1 percent.
Nextdoor in Dorchester County, the unemployment rate went from 4.8 percent in September to 3.9 percent in October. In October 2019, the unemployment rate stood at 2.0 percent in October 2019.
“October’s employment situation is a huge stepping stone in the economic recovery process for South Carolina,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director, Dan Ellzey. “Our state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 4.2 percent, only a few percentage points higher than the historic low unemployment rate of 2.4 percent in January. This development indicates a massive shift in South Carolinians going back to work.”
Locally, the labor pool in Berkeley County increased slightly from 102,539 in September to 103,099 in October.
Local numbers appear to reflect similar situations around the state.
“This month’s release shows two very important things,” Ellzey said. “First, the number of unemployed citizens dropped from 125,120 (September) to 100,333 (October). That is a decrease of approximately 25,000 unemployed people. And, the important part is that these people left the ranks of the unemployed because they got a job, not because they gave up on looking for a job. At the same time that roughly 25,000 people left the ranks of the unemployed, approximately 28,000 additional South Carolinians became employed. That is a remarkable development.”
Elzy said residents with a desire to work are needed more than ever.
“There are currently more than 81,000 jobs posted in our SC Works Online Services (SCWOS) portal,” Ellzey said. “The reality is, opportunity is knocking and the partners at SC Works centers statewide are prepared and ready to help job seekers fill these open positions.”
Ellay said the agency has been dual focused since the pandemic took hold in South Carolina.
“We are helping those who need temporary financial assistance with unemployment insurance benefits while simultaneously looking for new ways to promote workforce opportunities,” he said. “In fact, we are launching Project Job One, a new communications effort to promote the 81,0000 job postings that are waiting for the right candidates to apply and step into long-term financial stability.
“Ultimately we all understand that prosperity for the citizens of South Carolina equals prosperity for the state,” Ellzey said. “It is our goal to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before. It won’t be easy and it will take time, but we know South Carolinians are up for the challenge.
Results from the agency’s monthly survey, showed South Carolina marked an increase of 11,700 nonfarm payroll jobs over the month to a level of 2,124,800.
Industries reporting gains were Leisure and Hospitality (+6,900); Education and Health Services (+3,300); Financial Services (+1,500); Construction (+1,200); Other Services (+700); Manufacturing (+400); and Government (+200).
Decreases were noticed in the Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,400); Information and Professional and Business Services (-100) industries respectively.
From October 2019 to October 2020, South Carolina’s economy has lost 77,700 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs.
Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 7.9 percent in September to 6.9 percent in October.