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South Carolina’s jobless rate remained stuck at eight percent in May, according to data released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). The agency has yet to release information on the state’s labor participation rate, though, which inched up from a record low of 58.5 percent in March to 58.9 percent in April.

Obviously that number – which measures the percentage of the state’s working age population that is either employed or actively searching for a job – is critical in determining the overall health of the state’s job market.

We’ll publish that data as soon as we have it …

Nationally, the unemployment rate stands at 7.6 percent with a 63.4 percent labor participation rate. That latter figure is up from a 34-year-low of 63.3 percent in April.

While SCDEW says South Carolina added 5,400 non-farm jobs from April to May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed the Palmetto State as having shed 7,700 jobs – the third-highest job loss figure in the country.

“The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Pennsylvania (-9,200), followed by South Carolina (-7,700) and Florida (-6,200),” the BLS release stated.

Wait … how did South Carolina manage to gain and lose jobs in the same month?

It all boils down to definitions: The number the BLS cited is seasonally adjusted, the number cited by the state is not. In other words the BLS figure accounts for seasonal gains (or losses) in employment that typically occur at this time of year. South Carolina is choosing to release a number that does not incorporate those normal gains.

“They’re just choosing to publish the non-seasonally adjusted numbers,” a BLS spokesman told FITS, referring to the SCDEW data. “All this means is it was a worse May than usual.

Hmmmm …

However you slice it, out state’s jobless rate is higher than the national average …  meanwhile our state’s income levels remain among the lowest in the country.

Not good, people … not good.

MAY 2013 UNEMPLOYMENT REPORT (.pdf)

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