Aiken County jobless rate drops

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina’s unemployment rate for February dropped from 9.3 to 9.1 percent, while Aiken County’s rate fell from 9.1 to 8.5 percent.

The nation’s jobless rate last month remained better than both.

At 8.3 percent, the nation’s unemployment rate was unchanged, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Barnwell County, meanwhile, which had the fourth-highest rate among the state’s 46 counties, saw its jobless rate fall from 16 percent to 15.3. Edgefield County held constant at 9.6 percent, according to data released by the state on Friday.

Marion County, at 19.1 percent, had the state’s worst unemployment rate, while Greenville County, at 7.2, enjoyed the lowest.

Palmetto State gains in February were fueled by the educational sector, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

Non-farm employment in South Carolina increased by 17,900 jobs from January to February, said the department in a release.

The agency said most of the gain, about 10,100, was from increases in K-12 schools and private and public universities, as institutions staffed up to prepare for the spring semester.

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