Next time you hear the term “record unemployment” tossed out in reference to the Palmetto State, it won’t be hyperbole.

South Carolina’s unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 11.5% today – with the ceiling still lurking.

It was the thirteenth straight month that the state’s unemployment rate had increased, another modern record, although the increase in unemployment has at least slowed somewhat over the past two months.

Not surprisingly, lawmakers have sought to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford – despite the fact that the Republican-controlled S.C. General Assembly has blocked every single one of the governor’s major economic development proposals over the past six years.

They’ve also reduced funding for the Department of Commerce, the state’s chief job recruitment agency.

“It’s very disingenuous for lawmakers to blame our administration on job recruitment efforts when they’ve cut Commerce Department funding back to mid-nineties levels,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told FITS.

The county with the highest unemployment rate? Chester County – with a whopping 21.8% rate.

In fact, five S.C. counties have rates higher than 20%, while seventeen S.C. counties have rates higher than 15%.

The lowest? Lexington County, which has a 7.6% rate.


April 2009 SC Unemployment Data