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SC Job Situation: Not Improving

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South Carolina’s unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.1 percent in July, according to data released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). Of course the Palmetto State’s underemployment rate – a broader, more accurate measure of joblessness – is much higher.

Measured quarterly, South Carolina’s underemployment rate currently stands at 15 percent.

Meanwhile the state’s labor participation rate – or the percentage of its working age population either employed or actively searching for a job – continues to lag well behind the national average. July figures have yet to be released, but June’s labor participation rate in South Carolina was an abysmal 58.7 percent – well below the national rate of 63.4 percent (which is just a tenth of a point above a three-and-a-half decade low).

South Carolina’s labor force shrank by nearly 4,000 last month – from 2,165,928 to 2,161,966. Meanwhile its employed population shrank by roughly the same amount – from 1,991,783 to 1,987,699.

The official number of unemployed South Carolinians grew by only 122, however – from 174,145 to 174,267.

Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped from 7.6 to 7.4 percent in July – although most of the newly created positions were part-time. In fact through the first seven months of 2013, a whopping 77 percent of the jobs “created” by the economy have been part-time positions (731,000 out of 953,000). South Carolina does not distinguish between part-time and full-time jobs in the data it releases to the public.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s economic performance – a.k.a. her entire case for reelection – has come under fire recently.

A report released earlier this year ranked South Carolina as one of the worst states in America try and make a living. Other recent reports showed the Palmetto State as having a terrible business tax climate as well as zero upward mobility for its citizens. And while Haley has been more than willing to throw taxpayer money at large corporations, a recent analysis of private sector job creation among America’s governors ranked her No. 34 out of 45 (five governors were excluded from the study because they took office in 2013). However one of those five governors, North Carolina’s Pat McCrory, recently signed a massive $2.5 billion tax cut – which will only further diminish South Carolina’s competitive position.

Democrats pounced on the softness of the report, mocking Haley’s self-administered nickname: “Jobs Governor.”

JULY 2013 UNEMPLOYMENT REPORT (.pdf)

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