South Carolina’s jobless rate inched up in July for the third month in a row, rising to 9.6 percent from 9.4 percent in June, state officials reported Friday.
The Department of Employment and Workforce said the increase was fueled by 4,040 newly unemployed people in the state and a drop of 11,231 employed people.
The agency said the pattern often occurs during the middle of the year because of “the seasonal ebb and flow of employment in the education sector.”
South Carolina and North Carolina tied with the fifth-highest rate in the nation, agency spokeswoman Adrian Fairwell said.
May’s rate of 9.1 percent was the first time South Carolina unemployment had gone up in 10 months.
State labor officials said Thursday that Georgia’s jobless rate rose to 9.3 percent in July, up from 9 percent in June.
Unemployment rates rose in 44 states in July, the most to show a monthly increase in more than three years and a reflection of weak hiring nationwide. The Labor Department said rates fell in only two states and were unchanged in four.
Monthly job gains have averaged 150,000 this year. That’s barely enough to accommodate population growth. As a result, the unemployment rate is the same as when the year began.
Still, 31 states gained jobs in July, while 19 lost them. Jobless rates can rise in a state even when more jobs are created if more people start looking for work. People who are out of work are counted as unemployed only if they’re looking for a job.
Jobless rates rose in nine states that are considered battlegrounds in the presidential election, but over the past year, unemployment has fallen in the most closely contested states.