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More workers join labor force in Berkeley County, joblessness rises

  • Saturday, June 21, 2014

Berkeley County saw a slight rise in its jobless rate in May as about 400 workers joined its labor force since April, according to numbers released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

The unemployment rate rose to 5 percent from April’s 4.7 percent rate. The rise comes as the rest of the state’s unemployment numbers hold steady at a seasonally adjusted 5.3 percent and the national jobless rate is 6.3 percent for the month.

According to the numbers released June 20, Berkeley County’s labor force increased from 86,572 in April to 86,997 in May. Employment increased from 82,535 in April to 82,689 in May. And unemployment increased from 4,037 in April to 4,308 in May.

Since May 2013, the labor force has decreased by about 1,500 (from 88,486 to 86,997), while employment numbers have remained relatively the same. Unemployment from May 2013 has shrunk from 6.6 percent to 5 percent, but the number of those employed has remained relatively stable (82,616 in 2013 and 82,689 in 2014). The number of unemployed when from 5,870 in May 2013 to 4,308 in May 2014.

Statewide, an increase of 736 people moved the estimated unemployment level to 115,172 in May. The number of South Carolinians working continues to trend upward, rising for 10 consecutive months and reaching a historic high in May of 2,051,011, increasing by 500 since April.

Also statewide, the labor force noted an increase of 1,236 people from April to May, reaching a level of 2,166,183. Since May 2013, an estimated 35,821 people have found work, but overall, the labor force decreased by nearly 20,961 people. The state’s unemployment rate has declined from the previous year by 2.6 percentage points, marking one of the largest declines in the nation, according to DEW.

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