COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s jobless rate held fast at 9.6 percent in August.

The Department of Employment and Workforce says the number remained essentially the same as the rate for July.

The July rate had inched up from a 9.4 percent rate in June. May’s rate of 9.1 percent was the first time the state’s unemployment had gone up in 10 months.

The agency says the estimated number of unemployed people dropped by just over 2,000 people to about 204,000. Employment also dropped for the fifth consecutive month by about 10,000 people.