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South Carolina’s unemployment rate inched up in July (its first increase of the year). Meanwhile the state’s labor force contracted for the fifth consecutive month – a sign that employers aren’t hiring and that more Palmetto state workers are giving up their job search due to the lack of available opportunities.

July’s unemployment rate was 10.8 percent – up from 10.7 percent in June.  In addition to this slight increase, the state’s labor force shrunk by another 6,800 positions last month – part of a 40,000-employee decline over the past year.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent – although the nation’s “underemployment” rate (which includes eligible workers who have grown so depressed with the job market that they have given up searching for work) clocked in at 16.5 percent.

South Carolina’s “underemployment” rate was measured at 19 percent during the second quarter of 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

July S.C. Unemployment Report