South Carolina unemployment rate drops to 3.9% in October

State - Regional

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina’s unemployment rate in October was 3.9%, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).

That represents a 0.2% decrease from September’s rate of 4.1%, which SCDEW said was a significant drop in its news release. The national figure for the month of October was 4.6%.

Since the onset of the pandemic, South Carolina has added 14,000 more workers to the labor force, making it one of only 11 states to see overall job growth since the pandemic began.

Research Economist Joseph Von Nessen at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina said the numbers show consistent economic recovery in South Carolina.

“In a very real sense, the move to an unemployment rate below 4% is a psychological boost for South Carolina,” Von Nessen said. “And we’re now in a period where we’d typically consider ourselves to be in a period of full employment now.”

Myrtle Beach, which relies heavily on jobs in the service industry, ranks third among South Carolina cities for overall job growth since just before the pandemic, according to Von Nessen. He pointed out that the service industry was one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic, as nearly half its job base was lost throughout 2020.

Von Nessen said the service industry, and in turn the Myrtle Beach economy, are rebounding nicely with lots of available jobs and job seekers.

“As we look forward we continue to expect the service sector to recover,” Von Nessen said. “We see this in terms of the demand for labor, and there are hiring signs all over, and that’s true in Myrtle Beach and elsewhere in South Carolina.”

Doug Dolson co-owns Express Employment Professionals in Myrtle Beach. The company matches employees with employers.

Dolson said this fourth quarter is so far better than last year’s with more people turning to Express for help finding a new job.

“We’re definitely seeing more people in our lobby,” Dolson said. “It’s been very encouraging ,and it’s been fantastic.”

Dolson said that it’s not just jobs in the service sector in and around Myrtle Beach that are in high demand right now.

“Now’s a good time to start a career,” Dolson said. “I want to emphasize that point as well. There are plenty of career jobs, career opportunities, throughout the Grand Strand right now.”

Von Nessen said that while he expects the unemployment rate in South Carolina to continue to drop, people should not expect the labor shortage to ease up too much, and it boils down to high demand of products.

“We simply are not seeing a rate of employment recovery and a rate of employment gains that is sufficient to satisfy the high level of demand that we’re seeing right now, so this labor shortage will persist,” Von Nessen said.

Von Nessen said the current labor market is the best for workers “in a generation.”

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