SC

SC Labor Participation Stuck At Record Low

Palmetto State’s employment situation continues to hold back our economy, its citizens …

THE ERA OF BIG “REPUBLICAN” RULE CONTINUES TO BE A DISASTER FOR SOUTH CAROLINA WORKERS …

For the third month in a row, labor participation in South Carolina remained at a record low in February … the latest month for which data is available.

According to numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Palmetto State’s labor participation rate in February stood at 58.3 percent – unchanged from January and December’s record low prints.  That’s down 0.4 percent from last February, governor Henry McMaster’s first full month in office.

Since last August, South Carolina has had the sixth-worst labor participation rate in the nation – meaning our workforce is one of the smallest in the nation as a percentage of our state’s working age population.  So while politicians have touted a low unemployment rate, they haven’t told us the real story … that far too few South Carolinians are part of the labor force.

Under former governor Nikki Haley, labor participation peaked at 60.3 percent between May and September 2011.  In May of 2012, however, it dipped below 60 percent – and has remained below this key demarcation line ever since.  By contrast, this measure reached as high as 68.5 percent during the early 1990s.

That’s right around the time “Republicans” began taking over state government, incidentally …

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For those of you keeping score at home, the state’s working age population stood at 3,986,188 during the month of February – up 4,427 from January. Meanwhile the state’s labor force stood at 2,324,714 – up 3,481 from January.

The unemployment rate inched up from 4.3 percent to 4.4 percent – but as we’ve previously pointed out this metric is essentially meaningless.  It only accounts for a segment of workers within the labor force.  By contrast, the labor participation rate tracks the size of the workforce itself.

That’s why we report on it … and why we’ve been using our coverage to challenge the Palmetto State’s elected officials to do better for our citizens.

Unfortunately, they have yet to make a right move …

In addition to its weak employment growth, South Carolina is also dealing with historically low income levels and sluggish economic growth.  In fact, what limited income growth our state has experienced in the aftermath of the Great Recession has been sucked up by the top one percent of income earners.

That’s not a “recovery.”

Bottom line?  Until “Republican” leaders break their addiction to big, unaccountable governmentnothing in the Palmetto State is going to change.

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