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South Carolina’s unemployment rate continued to soar in November reaching 8.4 percent, the state Employment Security Commission reported Dec. 19.
This is half a point above the revised rate of 7.9 percent in October and the highest rate since September 1983. The number of unemployed rose 11,500 to 182,900, while the state’s labor force was little changed at 2,171,400.
“This rise in joblessness was expected as layoffs and business closures continue to mount in the wake of the national economic crisis,” said Roosevelt T. Halley, executive director of the commission.
The national unemployment rate rose from 6.5 percent in October to 6.7 percent in November.
The nonfarm job count in the state plummeted 11,900 over the month to 1,929,600. This brought the job total to nearly 43,000 below the year-ago total.
Leisure and hospitality businesses cut 7,800 positions in November, with the bulk of the cuts in accommodation and food services (-5,800).
Cutbacks in temporary help agencies forced professional and business services positions downward by 4,200.
Construction continued its downward spiral, reducing payrolls by 2,500. Manufacturers laid off 1,200 workers during November.
On the plus side, the government sector added 2,700 jobs as state and local schools continued to add support staff for the fall school semester.
Retailers added only 1,300 workers in preparation for the holiday season. This is far below the number typically hired during this time of year.
South Carolina has been one of the hardest-hit states in terms of unemployment during the recessionary period of the past year.
The Employment Security Commission is now paying unemployment insurance benefits to more than 60,000 people each week. The amount of benefits being paid each week is exceeding $12 million.
Total unemployment benefits paid out for 2008 will be close to $500 million. With continuing layoffs among the state’s manufacturers, retailers and service-providing industries, unemployment will remain high into the foreseeable future, with rates likely reaching double digits over the next few months.