South Carolina's jobless rate falls for first time in 18 months

The StateAugust 21, 2009 

South Carolina's unemployment rate fell to 11.8 percent in July, the first decline in a year and a half, the state's Employment Security Commission announced Friday.

In two of the previous three monthly reports, the South Carolina's jobless rate had risen just very slightly.

But the state's labor force dropped 9,833 in July to 2.19 million, the lowest level since November 2008. The number of unemployed decreased 7,742 to 258,465.

"The decrease in the July unemployment rate is welcome news for South Carolina," employment commission executive director Roosevelt Halley said in a statement. "However, the data trends indicate that people in South Carolina left the labor force for the second month in a row. There is concern that people are becoming more discouraged over job prospects in the short term and are giving up the job search."

South Carolina unemployment in June was 12.1 percent, fourth-worst in the nation. The latest reading was sixth worst.

The U.S. jobless rate also fell to 9.4 percent last month from 9.5 percent in June.

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