The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.4 percent in December from 8.3 percent in November. The rate was 1.2 percent lower than the December 2011 rate of 9.6 percent.
Barnwell County's unemployment rate took the same path as it inched up to 13.9 percent in December compared to 13.2 percent in November. In December 2011, Barnwell County's rate was up to 15.4 percent.
Statewide over the month of December, the number of employed improved by 5,325 to 1,969,560. The number of unemployed grew since November by 3,211 to 180,032 in December, and the labor force expanded by 8,536 to 2,149,592.
Nationally, the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent, with roughly 28,000 more Americans working and 164,000 additional people searching for work.
Although overall payroll employment declined in December, several industries saw growth: Trade, Transportation and Utilities saw an increase of 2,400 jobs, while Education and Health Services saw an 1,100 job increase, and Construction jobs grew by 700.
As those employment sectors saw growth, Leisure and Hospitality jobs fell 5,900 due to a drop in demand for arts, entertainment, and recreation, as well as accommodation and food services. Local government services and employment services demand was also down during the month causing a drop of 2,300 jobs in Government and 1,700 jobs in Professional and Business Services respectively.
"Typically, we see a small decrease in employment in December because of seasonal declines in the Leisure and Hospitality, Professional and Business Services, and Government sectors. Nonetheless, I am encouraged as the state's overall job growth trend throughout 2012 was at a pace similar to historical levels before the recent recession. This is welcomed news as we move forward in 2013, when DEW will continue partnering closely with businesses and jobseekers to put South Carolinians back to work," said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner.
Neighboring County of Allendale saw increases while Bamberg County saw a decrease.
Allendale County, ranked second overall in unemployment in the state sat at 15.6 percent in December up from 15.2 percent in November. In December 2011, Allendale County was at 17.1 percent unemployment. Currently, Allendale sits just below Marion County, whose rate is 17.2 percent.
Bamberg County's rate decreased to 13.4 percent from 13.6 percent in November. In December 2011, Bamberg County saw a rate of 14.9 percent unemployed.
Local and state statistics on unemployment rates can be found on S.C. DEW's website, dew.sc.gov.
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