Jobless rate in South Carolina falls below 10%

South Carolina's jobless rate fell below 10 percent last month for the first time in more than two years, according to federal data released today.

The state's projected unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in March, down from 10.2 percent in February and 11.5 percent a year ago, the U.S. Labor Department reported.

South Carolina's jobless numbers have not fallen into single digits since a 9.9 percent reading in January 2009.

But the underlying numbers suggest a state still under economic stress.

The state has added 16,400 jobs in a seven-month run up on employment, while the number of unemployed -- those actively looking for work -- dropped by 24,200 in the same time frame.

That suggests a number of people stopped looking for jobs or run out of their unemployment benefits. The state's total labor force -- those working or looking for work -- has dropped by 7,800 since August.

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