Amidst a highly volatile global economy that saw U.S. unemployment fall slightly in July, South Carolina saw an increase.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in South Carolina rose from 10.5 to 10.9 percent in July, according to figures released Friday by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
In the Midlands, Lexington County continued to have one of the strongest workforces and the state's lowest unemployment at 8.6 percent, down from 8.8 percent. There were still nearly 11,600 people looking for jobs, however.
Richland County, meanwhile, saw its rate remain the same at 10.5 percent, with more than 19,000 people out of work.
State officials say the jump is due to an increase in the number of people moving to the state, combined with a significant increase in new graduates flooding the job market in search of first-time careers.
“As people hear about job announcements in South Carolina, they are re-entering the labor force searching for employment opportunities,” said John Finan, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
South Carolina non-farm employment fell by 7,200 which is less than the average June-July loss of 18,000. Only two sectors reported a decline last month. Government reported a loss of 13,600 and financial activities had a loss of 200.
The state's labor force grew by approximately 4,100 from June to July, the largest increase this year. The influx of jobseekers to the state increased the total number of unemployed by 10,360 to 236,420 for July.
“While the unemployment rate ticked up this month, it is a promising sign that those people once discouraged about seeking work are now joining the labor force," Finan said.
"However, competition in the state is tough as there are currently more job seekers than job openings. We feel confident as the number of new job announcements come to fruition; our state unemployment rate will again begin to trend down.”
The state reports the largest gains were in trade, transportation and utilities (+1,700) and leisure and hospitality (+1,400). Education and health services also reported a gain of 1,300. Officials credit the high gains in trade, transportation and utilities to an early push on back-to-school sales and tourism.
The Department of Labor and Workforce also saw continued growth in manufacturing registering growth for the sixth consecutive month. Monthly figures show an increase of 1,800 jobs in July.
Nationally, the unemployment rate saw only a slight decrease from 9.2 percent down to 9.1 percent with 13.9 million persons unemployed. There were a total of 117,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in July, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.
The highest increases nationally were seen in health care, retail trade, manufacturing, and mining sectors. Health care saw the highest increase with 31,000 jobs added in July.
Government employment saw a decrease of 37,000 jobs of which state government took the majority with 23,000 job cuts. The Department of Labor reports the state government decline was almost entirely due to a partial shutdown of the Minnesota state government.