- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina’s unemployment rate has gone up for the third month in a row, state officials said Tuesday.

In a news release, the Department of Employment and Workforce said state unemployment was 6.6 percent in September. That seasonally adjusted number is up from a revised 6.3 percent in August.

Nationally, unemployment went down last month, falling to 5.9 percent in September from 6.1 percent in August.

Officials said the number of unemployed people in South Carolina in September was more than 144,000. That’s an increase of more than 6,400 compared with a month earlier.

The state’s labor force went up by nearly 9,000 people, to more than 2.1 million.

Jobless rates either went down or were unchanged in all of South Carolina’s 46 counties, according to state officials. But those numbers are not seasonally adjusted, so they can’t be directly compared with the state unemployment rate.

At this time a year ago, South Carolina’s jobless rate was 7.3 percent. Since then, according to state officials, jobs overall are up by 43,200, an increase of more than 2 percent.

The biggest gains over the past year have been in the leisure and hospitality industry, which has gone up by 11,800 jobs. The professional and business services sector is also up by about 10,200 jobs since September 2013.

“South Carolina’s job outlook remains positive with more than two million South Carolinians working,” DEW executive director Cheryl M. Stanton said in an emailed statement. “In the last year, more than 21,000 people have found work and there are over 43,000 new jobs in the Palmetto State.”

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Kinnard can be reached at https://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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