CHARLESTON, S.C. - South Carolina's unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in a quarter century, but there's some good news for the state's hard-hit rural counties - hundreds of new jobs.
Development officials said Wednesday the Crane Co. will close a vending machine factory outside St. Louis and consolidate the operation at its Dixie-Narco plant in Williston in Barnwell County.
That will mean an estimated 1,000 jobs over five years, with almost all the workers to be hired locally.
Unemployment in South Carolina was 10.4 percent in January.
That area of the state has been hit hard in recent months with announcements of plant closings.
Marty Martin, executive director of the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission, said the first new jobs should be available next year. He said with expanded unemployment benefits, workers laid off in the coming months may be able to get by until those new jobs open up.