Aiken County's jobless rate beats state, nation



South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.5 percent to 9.9 percent from October to November, while Aiken County’s rate of 8.8 percent fell to 7.7 percent.

On Tuesday, the state De­partment of Employment and Workforce heralded the state’s unemployment rate decline as the largest monthly reduction since 1976.

But South Carolina’s unemployment picture remains worse than the nation as a whole. Over the same period, the country’s jobless rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent.

Aiken County has consistently fared better, buffered by federal stimulus dollars flowing into Savannah River Site.

The state added 7,100 retail jobs as the holiday shopping season kicked off, fueling the 8,800 new positions in trade, transportation, and utilities, which had the largest month-to-month growth.

The close of summer brought the predicted decline in the leisure and hospitality industry, which shed 3,300 jobs. Manufacturing occupied a brighter spot. The month brought 900 new manufacturing jobs.

Of the state’s 46 counties, only Calhoun and Orangeburg counties suffered an increase in joblessness.

Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, the most number of states to report such declines in eight years.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in November to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs five months in a row – the first time that has happened since 2006, before the Great Recession.

Only three states reported higher unemployment rates in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Four states showed no change.

Nevada for the 18th consecutive month had the highest state unemployment rate: 13 percent. It was followed by California at 11.3 percent. North Dakota again enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate: 3.4 percent. It was followed by Nebraska at 4.1 percent and South Dakota at 4.3 percent.

Associated Press reports were used in this story.