SC Unemployment Up Slightly In June To 8.1 Percent

By MEG KINNARD

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) â¿¿ South Carolina's jobless rate rose slightly in June, according to data released by state officials Thursday.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce said that unemployment in South Carolina was 8.1 percent last month. That's just one-tenth of a percentage point higher than May's rate of 8 percent.

Nationally, unemployment was steady at 7.6 percent last month. As was the case in May, South Carolina's rate was tied with Connecticut for the 14th-highest jobless rate in the country. Unemployment was highest in Nevada at 9.6 percent.

Jobless rates went up in last month all but two of South Carolina's 46 counties. Marion County was home to the state's highest unemployment rate, of 16.3 percent. Unemployment was lowest in Lexington County at 6.9 percent.

Statewide, the number of unemployed people rose by about 1,900, for a total of more than 174,000. Overall, the labor force went down by about 2,800, for a total of more than 2.1 million people in South Carolina who are either working or looking for work.

Trade, hospitality and professional and business services posted a combined job growth of 14,500 last month. About 2,900 of those gains came in the form of hospitality jobs, as the state's multi-billion-dollar tourism industry continued to staff up for the summer season.

Education jobs went down by 1,200, with schools out for the summer.

In the last month, non-agricultural jobs in South Carolina went up by a total of 14,300, to nearly 1.9 million. State officials said that was the largest monthly gain in South Carolina's workforce since October 2006.

Over the last 12-month period, such jobs are up by 31,500, state employment officials said.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP
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