Unemployment Rate Below 9% – announced here in Irmo

This morning, I joined Representative Huggins and Governor Haley as she shared exciting news about the improving SC economy. It was an honor to have her showcase, Stier Supply , located on Lake Murray Boulevard just down the street from the Irmo Chamber of Commerce .

To see Mr. Steir’s comments and the Governor’s announcement, click here.

Below is the News Release from the SC Department of Employment and Workforce

South Carolina’s Employment Situation
March 2012

Unemployment Rate Below 9.0 Percent for the First Time in More Than Three Years

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. This is the eighth consecutive month the rate has declined and is the first time in more than three years that the rate has been below 9.0 percent.

Employment continues to rise to a level not seen since the end of 2008. Employment for March was 1,964,617, and the number of unemployed persons declined 4,345 to 193,024. The total labor force for March was estimated at 2,157,641. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell slightly from 8.3 percent in February to 8.2 percent in March.

When compared to March 2011, employment has improved (+32,871), while the level of the unemployed in the state has declined (-30,950).

South Carolina’s non-farm employment saw an increase of 17,100 jobs over the month with notable gains in most major sectors. The arrival of spring brought an uptick in Leisure and Hospitality (+8,400), which was concentrated in the Food Services and Drinking subsector. Trade, Transportation and Utilities was up by 3,800, mostly in the Retail Trade subsector. Increases in Professional and Business Services (+2,600), Government (+1,400, mostly in Local Government), Manufacturing (+600), and Construction (+200) were responsible for the gains. Education and Health Services declined by 900 with most of the downward movement in Health Care and Social Assistance.

The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® data series reported that the number of online job ads in South Carolina increased by about 1,600 (to 52,500) from February to March. The number of jobseekers per opening fell from 3.9 to 3.7 this past month. The number of online job ads in the U.S. saw a significant increase (+246,300).

The Trident Workforce Area (Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties) had the most ads (12,935), with the Midlands Workforce Area (Fairfield, Lexington, and Richland counties) coming in next (11,154). Of all online ads, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations had the highest number in the state (10,174).

“We are pleased with the unemployment rate’s continued decline. Our state hasn’t experienced an unemployment rate less than 9 percent since 2008, and we are excited that this means unemployed South Carolinians are finding jobs.” said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner. “There is still much work to be done in our great state, but today’s drop indicates that businesses in South Carolina along with the Department of Employment and Workforce are keenly focused on putting South Carolinians to work.”

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