- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina’s jobless rate has fallen for the sixth consecutive month.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that South Carolina’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in October, down from 4.9 percent in September. That marked the first time the state rate has fallen below 5 percent since April 2001.

The agency says the number of South Carolinians working rose to a new high of nearly 2.2 million. The number of unemployed people who are looking for work declined to about 108,500.

According to the federal Labor Department, the state’s rate ranks 22nd lowest nationwide.

The national jobless rate in October averaged 4.9 percent. New Hampshire and South Dakota both posted the lowest rate of 2.8 percent, while Alaska had the highest at 6.8 percent.

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