South Carolina is working.
Data from the state Department of Employment and Workforce show a state gaining people and jobs, while dropping the number of people looking for work.
“People continue to enter the labor force at record numbers,” said Dan Ellzey, executive director of the state agency. “And, employers continue to hire at records numbers.”
Here are 10 key takeaways from the state and local job scenes:
▪ Unemployment is down in every South Carolina county compared to a month ago. Unemployment rates range from 2.7% in Lexington and Charleston counties to 6.5% in Bamberg County.
▪ South Carolina lists employment numbers several ways. Raw numbers account for people in jobs. Seasonally adjusted numbers take the raw figures and weigh them against known employment swings — tourism increase in the summer, retail uptick in late fall, school jobs drop in the summer.
Experts say seasonally adjusted figures are better for determining patterns from one month or year to another. Neither number set accounts for farm jobs, which are tricky to track.
▪ A monthly survey of about 60,000 households determined South Carolina reached a new record of more than 2.29 million people working in July. It’s up almost 6,500 people from June and more than 54,000 people from July 2018.
The same survey found the state’s labor force is up for the seventh straight month. It’s up more than 4,700 people in a month, almost 60,000 people in a year.
Unemployment dipped by 81,750 people. The state unemployment rate of 3.4% is down from 3.5% in June. The national rate is 3.7%.
▪ As recent announcements like Adornus Cabinetry in Lancaster, Boise Cascade Co. in Chester County and others might suggest, manufacturing is big. It’s the industry with the most gains in a month and second most in a year.
“Manufacturing in the state has grown by 3.6 percent since July of 2018,” Ellzey said. “In the past year, the manufacturing industry has added more than 9,000 jobs.”
▪ Statewide, industries with the most growth in a month are manufacturing (1,900 jobs) trade, transportation and utilities (1,600), education and health services (1,300), other services (800), leisure and hospitality (300) and financial services (300). Mining, logging and information held steady.
Industries in decline were construction (1,500), professional and business services (1,400) and government (1,400).
Industries up the most in a year are, in order: manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; education and health services; professional and business services; government; other services and financial activities. Only construction and information were down.
▪ The most total jobs reported statewide in July were in trade, transportation and utilities. That sector made up 19% of the more than 2 million non-farm jobs in South Carolina. Following are government (17%) and professional and business services (13%).
▪ The York County unemployment rate of 3.2% in July is down from 3.5% both one month and one year earlier. York County has a labor force of almost 140,000 people. York County ranks No. 11 statewide for lowest unemployment rate.
▪ Lancaster County ranks No. 27 out of 46 counties with 3.7% unemployment. Lancaster County has a work force of about 41,000 people. The county unemployment rate is down significantly from 4.1% in June and 4% in July 2018.
▪ Chester County came in at No. 40 for its 4.8% unemployment rate. Chester County has a labor force of less than 14,000 people. The rate is down from 5.2% a month earlier and 5.3% a year earlier.
▪ As of June, the tri-county area had 4,441 job openings compared to 7,304 unemployed members of the work force. Administrative support, waste management and accomodation or food services were the most likely industries to file unemployment insurance claims in the area.