South Carolina’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 percent in March; first increase in over a year

South Carolina’s unemployment rate rose in March. (AP Photo/File)

South Carolinians came into the job market in record numbers in March, and the surge led the state’s unemployment rate to its first increase in more than a year.

South Carolina’s jobless rate climbed to 5.7 percent in March, up from 5.5 percent for the first rise since September 2014.

Nearly 18,000 more people had a job or started looking for one, the largest one-month increase in the state’s labor force ever, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday. Two-thirds of the increase owed to job growth, the labor agency said.

The increase mimics the U.S.’s jobs picture. The American labor force surged last month as nearly 400,000 people started looking for work, pushing the national unemployment rate up a hair to 5 percent.

That reflects a measure of optimism in the national job market: The nation has posted several months of strong job gains, and wages are starting to increase after several years of sluggish growth.

Each of South Carolina’s largest metro areas saw their unemployment rates increase in March. The Charleston area’s jobless rate inched up to 4.9 percent.

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