After 7 months, unemployment rate rises in SC

South Carolina News

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – For the first time in seven months, the unemployment rate rose in South Carolina with 102,000 people out of work.

That 4.4% rate in November is up 0.2% from October.

Brian Nottingham from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said there is a trend inside those numbers, of people not wanting to work.

“For folks that have real concerns over their health and safety out in the world dealing with COVID-19, with vulnerable family members or being vulnerable themselves,” said Nottingham, director of the Labor Market Information Business Intelligence Division.

“If they can afford it, they seem to be dragging their feet on getting back in,” he said, adding that school closures and child care shortages weigh heavy.

“Folks are left with these very difficult choices; what is best for their families might not be best for the health of South Carolina’s economy overall,” Nottingham said.

Last month, the state did see a spike in hospitality jobs of about 3,300 more people employed. But South Carolina is still down 70,000 of those same jobs since December of last year.

One set of jobs is booming: customer service.

“We are seeing a huge spike in customer service related jobs,” Nottingham said, “which are by and large all work from home; people reaching out wanting help, assistance, especially with everything going online.”

There are still questions on how long it will take for the economy to recover in the Palmetto State but Nottingham believes one statistic could determine a lot.

“We want to see more employers posting their jobs, we want to see monthly gains in statewide employment by industry, we want to see those tick up,” he said. “As those tick up, and employers are looking for more and more people driving demand, we are going to see those unemployment rates continue to fall.”

Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties are well below the state average unemployment rate of 4.4%.

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