Unemployment in SC Declines in May, Labor Force Shrinks
Jun 17, 2018 09:40AM ● Published by Chris Haire
Credit: GE Reports
Nationally, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.8 percent from April’s rate of 3.9 percent.
But while unemployment fell by 5,431 people, the state’s labor force fell by 5,655, a result of retiring Baby Boomers and the increasing educational demands some jobs demand, among other factors.
Last month, the labor force participation rate dropped to 57.9 percent from 58.2 percent in April.
From January to March, the labor force participation rate held steady at 58.3 percent.
The rate has steadily dropped since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, when the rate was at 62.5. By December 2016, the rate had fallen to 58.8, even though the stock market had rebounded.
Although the participation rate continues to drop, businesses in the state are having a difficult time finding employees, from restaurants to hi-tech factories. The new Mercedes-Benz plant in North Charleston has struggled to find enough skilled workers for its new factory, according to a Post and Courier report. The new Volvo plant in Berkeley County is suffering from the same problem.
“South Carolina continues to enjoy record employment levels that help our economy thrive, but it is imperative that we also continue to look for opportunities to educate, train, and prepare our workforce to meet the demand,” said Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
“The State Workforce Development Board is awarding grants for the development and use of innovative workforce, education, and training practices to support jobseekers. It is this type of preparation and partnership that will help individuals find employment and succeed in the workforce and provide employers with the talent pipeline they need to compete in the global economy.”
Recently, a Wall Street Journal opinion piece argued that in order to met the nation's growing Social Security needs -- particular those of the Baby Boomers -- the U.S. needs a steady supply of immigrant workers.
SCDEW also reports the following:
Nonfarm Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted1)
May 2018 seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payrolls increased by 1,800 over the month to a record level of 2,122,300.
- The state’s job count rose in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2,100); Education and Health Services (+1,000); Financial Activities (+700); Manufacturing (+500) and Government (+100).
- Industries recording job losses during the same month were Other Services (-1,300); Leisure and Hospitality (-1,000); Professional and Business Services (-200); and Construction (-100).
- Information remained flat.
- Industries with noticeable gains were Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+10,600); Education and Health Services (+7,100); Leisure and Hospitality (+7,000); Professional and Business Services (+5,300); Manufacturing (+3,700); Government (+3,200); Other Services (+2,500); Information (+200) and Financial Activities (+100).
- Declines were reported in Construction (-1,400).
Not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 13,400 from April 2018 to May 2018 for a total of 2,137,100.
- Industries showing notable growth were Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+3,500); Professional and Business Services (+3,300); both Construction and Financial Activities grew (+1,000); Education and Health Services and Other Services grew by (+300).
- Mining and Logging remained the same.
- Industries declining during the month were Government (-500); Manufacturing (-200); and Information (-100).
- Industries marking strong annual gains were Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+10,400); Education and Health Services (+6,500); Leisure and Hospitality (+6,000); Professional and Business Services (+5,500), Other Services (+3,300); Manufacturing (+2,600); Government (+2,000); Mining and Logging gained (+100).
- Losses were seen in Construction (-800) and Financial Activities (-600); Information held steady.