Unemployment rate drops for 4th straight month

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) — South Carolina's unemployment rate has dropped for the fourth month in a row, registering 11 percent in May.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that the rate was down one half a percentage point from the revised 11.5 percent rate in April.

Officials say the state's total employment increased by 3,300 jobs in May. [Click here to see individual employment rates by county]

"We are encouraged by the trends of the last few months while, at the same time, cautious since state and local budgets face serious shortfalls and the national economy remains fragile," said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director John Finan.

Non-farm jobs went up by 22,000 in May, with the biggest increase in government hiring, mostly because of the hiring of workers for the U.S. Census. The hospitality and business services sectors also had major increases.

The national jobless rate had dropped slightly in May, to 9.7 percent.

Marion County had the highest jobless rate, at 18.6 percent. Aiken County had the lowest rate at 7.4 percent.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.