Headlines in the Midlands
South Carolina’s Employment Situation May 2012
Unemployment Rate Increases; More South Carolinians Enter the Labor Force
The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May from 8.8 percent in April. This marks South Carolina's first rate increase in 10 months as more people entered the labor force.
The number of unemployed people increased this month by 5,861 to 195,905. At the same time, the number of employed people decreased by 3,886 to 1,957,360.
Nationally, the unemployment rate increased slightly from 8.1 percent in April to 8.2 percent in May, with about 642,000 people entering the labor force in May.
The not seasonally adjusted non-farm payroll survey showed an increase of 16,800 jobs from April to May 2012, with gains in most major sectors. Over 75 percent of the increase was driven by gains in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,700); Professional and Business Services (+4,700); and Leisure and Hospitality (+3,700). Construction (+1,400) noted an improvement for the third consecutive month as Specialty Trade Contractors experienced increased demand. Also acknowledging increases were Education and Health Services (+1,100) as well as Financial Activities (+1,000). Minor increases of 100 each were noted in Information and Government. Manufacturing posted the only loss among major sectors this month, declining by 200 jobs.
Since May 2011, total non-farm employment rose by 21,400 jobs. Manufacturing (+7,000) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+7,100) registered the greatest gains over the year. The sub-sectors of Employment Services (+5,900) as well as Health Care and Social Assistance (+3,300) also reported notable gains for the year.
Online job ads in South Carolina, as reported by the Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® data series, showed a small increase of about 600 ads from April to May. The number of jobseekers per opening rose slightly from 3.6 to 3.7 this past month. Online ads across the United States saw a decrease (-45,700) in the last month. Compared to a year ago, online ads in South Carolina were about 2,100 higher in May 2012.
The Trident Workforce Area (Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties) had the most ads (13,037), with the Midlands Workforce Area (Fairfield, Lexington, and Richland counties) coming in next (11,536). Of all online ads, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations had the highest number of ads in the state (9,932).
"Despite our unemployment rate edging up this month, more than 24,000 of our fellow citizens have found jobs in the past year," said Abraham J. Turner, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce. "Historically, South Carolina's unemployment rate fluctuations have mirrored the movements of the national rate, and this month is no exception. We are encouraged that people are entering the labor force searching for employment, and DEW continues to remain focused on putting South Carolinians back to work."