Jobless rates rise slightly locally

Both Barnwell and Allendale County experienced slight increases in unemployment rates according to statistics recently released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Barnwell County’s rate rose from 5.9 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August. Allendale County rose from 7 to 7.2 percent over the same time period.

Statewide the jobless rate rose from 3.9 to 4 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 percent in July to 4.4 percent in August.

Barnwell County was ranked tenth amongst South Carolina’s 46 counties in order of highest unemployment. Allendale County was ranked fourth. Orangeburg County has the highest rate with 9 percent unemployment. Clarendon County has the lowest rate at 3.6 percent.

When looking at actual numbers, Barnwell County had 516 people without jobs in August, an increase of 16 people from July. This is down from 633 people without jobs in August 2016.

Allendale County last year had 234 people without jobs but that number lowered to 198 in August this year. Last month Allendale County recorded 192 people who were jobless.

“This past month, I’ve seen how truly blessed South Carolina is to have a robust and growing economy,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

“After receiving the devastating news of the V.C. Summer nuclear facility closure that resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs, our business community came together and provided opportunities to many of the affected workers. But we realize there are more families around the state that have been impacted by unemployment, and we are working to help them find jobs. I am encouraged as South Carolina businesses are hiring, and her economy is strong,” she said.