COLUMBIA, S.C. _ There were nearly 40,000 job vacancies in South Carolina last month and more than 200,000 people who were unemployed in the state.
Why can’t at least some of those jobless workers be matched with the open jobs?
Gov. Mark Sanford has asked that question repeatedly as he has warred with the S.C. Employment Security Commission, saying he should have control of the state’s jobs agency.
"It makes no sense to have an unemployment rate that is higher than we all would like while at the same time there are ... unfilled job postings across the state," Sanford said during his State of the State speech.
Sanford argues the state’s high unemployment rate _ 9.5 percent in January and expected to be higher when the latest numbers are released Friday _ could be lowered if the state employment agency did a better job of placing people in jobs.
Others say the state’s unemployment problem is not a black-and-white numbers issue. Instead, they say it is complicated by other problems, including:
Too many untrained workers who lack the skills wanted by employers who are hiring
Too few jobs in rural areas
And, some Sanford critics say, the state’s failure to attract enough new jobs
The task of putting the jobless to work is complicated by a gap between the skills of jobless workers and the skills wanted by companies that are hiring, said Stephen Marshall, deputy executive director of the S.C. Employment Security Commission.
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