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SC Unemployment Ticks Up … Again

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THIS ISN’T THE NUMBER TO WATCH, THOUGH …

By FITSNews || South Carolina’s unemployment rate climbed from a revised 5.8 percent to 6.4 percent in August, according to data released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).  A total of 138,108 South Carolinians were without a job last month – an increase of 13,396 from July.

Obviously that’s not the number to keep tabs on, though …

The state’s labor participation rate – which measures what percentage of the state’s working-age citizens are employed – stood at 57.9 percent in August, up negligibly from a record low of 57.8 percent in July.

That’s the real problem … as only five states have lower labor participation rates than South Carolina’s.

Labor participation in South Carolina under “Jobs Governor” Nikki 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 Palmetto State’s workforce continues to struggle despite a flood of government-subsidized “jobs announcements” from Haley – who has been busted on several occasions artificially inflating the state’s employment picture, too (including HERE and HERE).

The latest employment data comes one day after the U.S. Census Bureau published updated income estimates for 2013.  South Carolina ranked No. 44 out of fifty states with a median household income of $44,163 – well below the stagnant national rate of $52,250.

The data also comes a week after a recent report ranked the state’s economy the fifth-worst in the nation – citing its weak standing on employment, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and incomes.

Haley’s administration did its best to put a positive spin on the data.

“In August, South Carolina’s labor force grew to almost 2.2 million people signaling that individuals are entering the job market, actively pursuing the nearly 70,000 available jobs,” SCDEW director Cheryl Stanton said.

Not surprisingly, the Palmetto State’s underwhelming economic conditions quickly became campaign fodder.

“While Gov. Haley’s view from her mansion might be rosy, one in five South Carolinians are living in poverty.  That’s simply unacceptable,” said Tom Ervin, a self-styled independent Republican running against Haley as a petition candidate.