South Carolina’s unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent in June from 9.1 percent in May.
It was the second consecutive monthly increase after month-over-month declines in the jobless rate from August through April.
Although the percentages reported Friday by the state Department of Employment and Workforce are seasonally adjusted, the agency attributed last month’s climb to a fall in full-time jobs as schools let out for the summer.
State and local education caused government employment to drop by 4,900 from May to June, and education and health services lost another 1,500 jobs.
On the flip side, leisure and hospitality gained 3,700 jobs as the summer tourist season cranked up. Manufacturing and professional and business services picked up 1,500 jobs each, and construction posted a healthy increase of 1,000 jobs.
But those gains were not enough to keep the state’s jobless rate from rising, and that rate likely will be even higher by year-end, according to Douglas Woodward, director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.
“Leading indicators are signaling that the first half is going to be the stronger and the second the weaker in terms of overall economic growth,” Woodward said Friday.
Woodward said that many of the manufacturing jobs announced over the past year are in the pipeline, but from where he sits now, “it’s hard to find any way to justify big gains going forward for six months, and that’s consistent with reports I’m seeing around the country.”
The national jobless rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent.
In a statement, the state employment agency’s chief put a more encouraging gloss on the state numbers.
“While South Carolina’s unemployment rate edged up from May to June, much progress has been made since last year, as there were more than 22,000 jobs added,” said Abraham J. Turner, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
Asked about the uptick in unemployment, Gov. Nikki Haley called it “disappointing.”
“But it just means I need to work harder and get more jobs in here and get people trained quicker,” Haley said, according to a video recording of her remarks.
The state jobless rate in June 2011 was 10.5 percent and rose to 11.1 percent in August before dropping to 8.8 percent in April.
The Charleston metro area’s unemployment rate rose from 7.9 percent in May to 8.5 percent in June. In June 2011, the metro area’s jobless rate was 9.2 percent.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906.