Headlines in the Midlands
South Carolina’s Employment Situation August 2012
SOUTH CAROLINA - The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 9.6 percent in August. The estimated number of unemployed people dropped by 2,021 to 204,941 with employment also decreasing (for the fifth consecutive month), down by 10,347 to 1,926,595. These declines moved the labor force total down 12,368 to an estimated 2,131,536. Noteworthy, the labor force participation rate (58.4) is the lowest since 1976 (oldest data available) and is reflective of more people choosing not to participate in the labor force than ever before.
Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, primarily driven by fewer people participating in the labor force.
Nonfarm payroll jobs (not seasonally adjusted) grew by 2,400 from July to August, with the majority of the increase in Government (2,200), as state and local schools began augmenting staff for the opening day of the school year. Also increasing was the Education and Health Services sector (+1,400) as private educational schools and ambulatory health care services rebounded in August. Financial Activities had an upturn (+1,100), and there were small gains in Construction (+800) and Information (+800). Trade, Transportation, and Utilities payrolls increased by 300. Employment in Professional and Business Services, and Leisure and Hospitality fell (-2,000 and -1,600 respectively). Manufacturing declined by 400 jobs. Other Service related employment declined by 200 jobs. Natural Resources and Mining Activity was unchanged.
In the last year, nonfarm employment saw an overall increase of 15,000 jobs. The largest gains were in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,600) and Education and Health Services (+4,100), mostly in the Health Care and Social Assistance subsector). Professional and Business Services increased (+3,600 mostly in Employment Services), as did Manufacturing (+3,300). Information gained 1,600 jobs. Financial Activities employment increased (+600) and Other Service jobs (+100) also grew. Government had the largest decline since August 2011 (-2,000); other losses were seen in Natural Resources and Mining, Construction, and Leisure and Hospitality (each with -300).
Online job ads in South Carolina, as reported by the Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) data series, showed a decrease of about 300 ads from July to August. The number of jobseekers per opening remained at 3.7 this past month. Online ads across the United States saw a decrease of 108,700 in the last month. Compared to a year ago, online ads in South Carolina were approximately 6,600 higher in August 2012.
The Trident Workforce Area (Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties) had the most ads (14,211), with the Midlands Workforce Area (Fairfield, Lexington, and Richland counties) coming in next (13,547). Of all online ads, the Sales and Related Occupations group had the highest number of ads in the state (9,853).
“While I recognize there is more work to be done, today’s unemployment rate announcement shows me that South Carolina is on the road to economic recovery. We saw healthy gains in the Private Sector as the Education and Health Services, Financial Activities, Construction, and Information sectors all registered increases,” said Abraham J. Turner, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce.