S.C. unemployment reaches low point

South Carolina's unemployment reached its lowest level since 2008 and Barnwell County's rate also moved downward.
In March, South Carolina's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.5 percent from February's rate of 5.7 percent. The last time the Palmetto State's rate was at this level was in March 2008, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). From February to March 2014, the number of unemployed persons declined by 5,077, to a level of 119,058.
Barnwell County's rate was 8.8 percent, down from 9.1 percent in February and a drop from 13.1 percent in March 2013. Three months into the year, the average annual rate is trending the lowest since 2007 when the annual jobless rate for Barnwell County was 9.2 percent. That rate peaked in both 2009 and 2010 when the annual rate was 17.4 percent each of those years.
According to DEW statistics, Barnwell County's unemployment rate has been steadily dropping over the last year.
Barnwell County has a labor force of 8,096 with 713 of those unemployed. The labor force rose from last month when there were 8,024 available for work and 733 unemployed. Last year there were 8,238 people in Barnwell's workforce with 1,077 of those unemployed.
Barnwell County is ranked fourth highest for unemployment percentage among South Carolina's 46 counties. Marion County has the highest rate of 10.4 percent while Lexington County enjoys the lowest rate of 4.2 percent.
DEW reported the estimated number of employed persons statewide in March was 2,046,002, up 6,560 since February. This is the eighth consecutive monthly increase and marks a state historic employment high. From March 2013 to March 2014, an estimated 32,555 people have found work.
The labor force increased slightly in March, up by 1,483 to 2,165,060. Since March 2013 the labor force has declined by nearly 23,982 people.
Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent in March.