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SC Workforce Holds At Record Low




South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted labor participation held at a record low of 57.8 percent in July, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The Palmetto State’s workforce is the nation’s sixth-smallest as a percentage of its population – which as you might imagine is not a statistic “Jobs Governor” Nikki Haley likes to talk about.

Labor participation in South Carolina under Haley peaked at 60.9 percent in June 2011 but has been falling precipitously ever since.  Similarly, the national rate has been declining steadily since U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

The national labor participation rate in July was 62.9 percent – up modestly from 62.8 percent in June.

Haley has been busted inflating the state’s jobs numbers on several previous occasions (including HERE and HERE), but that’s not her real trick.  The governor’s “signature move?” Bragging about reductions in the state’s unemployment rate that come from working age people leaving the workforce.

“Look at South Carolina,” Haley said earlier this year during a Republican Governors Association meeting in New York City. “In 2011, our unemployment had reached 11.1 percent. Now you look at South Carolina – 5.3 percent.”

South Carolina’s unemployment rate has shrunk, to be sure, but the decline is almost exclusively the result of a stagnant workforce that isn’t expanding along with the state’s growing population.

Oh … and there’s also that whole “welfare to work” scam (which the governor’s political opponents are finally recognizing).

Seriously … how else does Haley explain the surge in government dependency that’s taken place under her administration? If the economy is expanding, why are more South Carolinians relying on government handouts? And why are our income levels stagnant?

Haley doesn’t like to talk about any of that. Nor does she like to talk about the number of jobs South Carolina has lost since she took office – or the government-subsidized “economic development” deals that failed to produce a return on investment.

(For historical labor participation rate data, click here).