Number of Unemployed Drops Below 100,000, Governor Comments

Monday, June 19th, 2017

“I am encouraged to see the commitment businesses are making to South Carolina. They trust that we can provide them with skilled workers as they create jobs by expanding or opening new facilities in the state. This commitment has contributed to reducing the state’s unemployment rate to a level we have not experienced since December 2000,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “We have more work to do matching those seeking work with the nearly 63,000 jobs available across the state.”

Governor Henry McMaster released the following statement in response to the statewide unemployment rate decreasing to 4.1 percent in May from 4.3 percent in April:

"With the state's unemployment rate at a near 17-year low, it's as important as ever that we continue to broaden the scope of our workforce development initiatives and ensure that South Carolinians are trained and ready when they enter the labor force. The fact that companies around the world know our workforce is one of the best is a major factor in our future prosperity, and we must continue to build on that successful reputation." 

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May fell to its lowest rate since December 2000. The rate dropped to 4.1 percent in May from 4.3 percent in April.

The number of unemployed dropped by 4,932 to 96,526, the lowest level since April 2001, while the number of individuals working across the state showed little change, sliding down by 513 to 2,232,168. The state’s labor force decreased by 5,445 to 2,328,694 people in May.

Since May 2016, employment grew by 51,642, the labor force increased by 31,655 people, and the level of unemployed decreased 19,987.

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 4.4 percent in April to 4.3 percent in May.

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted1)

In May 2017, seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payrolls increased by 7,600 over the month to a record high level of 2,080,900.

- Job gains were reported in Professional and Business Services (+2,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+2,300); Construction (+1,800); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+1,100); Education and Health Services (+1,100); and Other Services (+100).

- Industries reporting decreases were Financial Activities (-800); Manufacturing (-400); Government (-400); and Information (-100).

Compared to May 2016, seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up 32,700.

- Industry increases were registered in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+9,400); Manufacturing (+7,400); Education and Health Services (+4,800); Construction (+4,400); Government (+2,900); Professional and Business Services (+2,800); and Leisure and Hospitality (+2,600).

- Decreases were reported in Information (-1,200); Other Services (-500); and Financial Activities (-100).

Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted2)

Not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 18,000 from April 2017 to May 2017 for a total of 2,098,000. 

- Professional and Business Services and Leisure and Hospitality each gained (+6,400). Growth also occurred in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+3,700); Construction (+1,900); Other Services (+500); and Mining and Logging (+100). Education and Health Services remained steady.

- Financial Activities (-400); Government (-400); Manufacturing (-100); and Information (-100) all saw losses during May. 

Over-the-year, not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs were up 30,500 overall in South Carolina.

- Industries marking gains were Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+8,400); Manufacturing (+7,500); Construction (+4,800); Education and Health Services (+4,700); Professional and Business Services (+4,300); Government (+2,600) Leisure and Hospitality (+400); and Mining and Logging (+200).

- Decreases were reported in the Information (-1,200); Financial Activities (-600); and Other Services (-600) sectors.

1Seasonally Adjusted: Seasonal adjustment removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year (i.e. tourist-related hiring and school closings in the summer). These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in data over time.


2Not Seasonally Adjusted: Effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed from these data.