- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Unemployment in South Carolina decreased for the second month in a row in July, state officials said Friday.

South Carolina’s jobless rate was 6.4 percent in July, according to the Department of Employment and Workforce. That’s down from 6.6 percent in June and matches state unemployment from a year ago.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged from June, at 5.3 percent. That figure represented a seven-year low.

From July 2014 to July 2015, state officials say that South Carolina’s employment level has increased by more than 59,000. The number of unemployed has increased by 3,800.

Over the past year, the labor force has grown by more than 63,000 people.

In the last month, hospitality jobs grew by 2,100. The trade, transportation and utilities sector went up by 1,500 jobs. The manufacturing, business services and education sectors posted total job losses of 1,100 positions.

In a statement, employment agency head Cheryl Stanton said the drop was encouraging but stressed the continued need for job training.

“Job levels are at near record highs for the state, but we must ensure we continue to invest in building a trained workforce to fill the nearly 70,000 currently available jobs,” Stanton said.

Unemployment levels dropped last month in all but five of South Carolina’s 46 counties. Orangeburg County had South Carolina’s highest jobless rate, at 12.4 percent. Unemployment was lowest in Charleston and Lexington counties, which both posted rates of 5.3 percent.

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


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