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South Carolina Employment Situation: Slide Stops

For now …

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Buoyed by the start of a new school year, labor participation in South Carolina ended a lengthly slide in September – posting its first increase in six months.

That’s according to data released late last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

All told, 58.8 percent of working age South Carolinians were part of the state’s workforce last month – up 0.1 percent from August’s reading.   Nationally, labor participation ticked up 0.2 percent from August to September, clocking in at 63.1 percent.

As has been the case for most of the year, the Palmetto State continued to bring up the rear nationally, ranking sixth-worst nationally on this key metric (ahead of only Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia).

Not good …

For those of you keeping score at home, 2,324,223 South Carolinians were part of the workforce last month – up 5,269 from the previous month.  Meanwhile the state’s working age population stood at 3,953,078 in September – up 4,765 from August.

Despite the modest uptick, labor participation remains down 0.6 percent over the last six months.

Unlike the widely reported unemployment rate – which tracks a segment of workers within the labor force – labor participation tracks the size of the workforce itself.  In other words, it is a far better indicator of the extent to which people are gainfully employed.

That’s why we cover it … and ignore the unemployment rate.

Labor participation under former S.C. governor Nikki Haley peaked at 60.3 percent in mid-2011, but dipped below the 60 percent mark in December 2011.  It remained below this demarcation line for the duration of her tenure in office.  Its high-water mark under new governor Henry McMaster is 59.4 percent – which was attained in March and again in April of this year.

By contrast, this measure reached as high as 68.5 percent during the early 1990s – which, incidentally, was right around the time “Republicans” began taking control of state government.

How has the party of “limited government” done?  Not well …

The GOP’s addiction to excessive taxingspending and borrowing – and crony capitalist “economic development” schemes – clearly hasn’t worked.  Furthermore, in addition to serving as a drain on the economy this massive taxpayer investment is producing diminishing returns with regards to educationinfrastructurepublic safety and other core functions of government.

Of course Democrats have offered absolutely nothing resembling an alternative … except more government.

Stay tuned … we are entering a political season in which these measurements will be magnified and parsed by elected officials seeking election (or reelection).  Count on this news site to continue providing our readers with the hard data, analysis as well as the political fallout.

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