South Carolina’s labor participation rate inched up in April from a record low in March … climbing from 58.5 to 58.9 percent, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).
That figure is still well below the rate, however, which inched up from a 34-year-low in April to its current level of 63.4 percent.
The labor participation rate is the percentage of the state’s (or country’s) working age population that is either employed or actively searching for a job. It’s a critical – and often-overlooked – data point in assessing true employment growth.
Labor participation in South Carolina under Gov. Nikki Haley peaked at 60.9 percent in June 2011 but had been falling precipitously since then. Officially, South Carolina’s unemployment rate stands at 8 percent – although the actual percentage is probably much higher given our low labor participation.