South Carolina drops to 3.3% unemployment, reports wages rising as workers change industries

The South Carolina State House in Columbia.
The South Carolina State House in Columbia.(WCSC/WIS)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:30 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Friday South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said South Carolina had dropped to 3.3% unemployment in April. In March the unemployment rate was 3.4% according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).

McMaster wrote, “Thanks to our business-friendly environment, we have had over $1.4 billion in capital investment and created over 3,700 jobs so far this year.”

SCDEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey issued a statement about April’s unemployment numbers,

“It is good news all around for April’s numbers. The labor force is up by 7,446 to 2,391,792. Once again, a new high. The labor force participation rate is up a tenth of a point to 57.3%. The number of people getting jobs is up by 9,017. Unemployment is down by 1,571 and the unemployment rate went from 3.4% to 3.3%, remaining below the U.S. rate of 3.6%.”

Ellzey also said in their statement, “In addition, wages continue to grow. In the past year, wages in South Carolina have risen 4.38%, from $26.70 in April 2021 to $27.87 in April 2022. Some of this increase is due to movement between industries.”

He attributed the increase in wages to workers leaving lower paying jobs for new industries, forcing employers to raise pay and attract employees. He warned that finding employees is the number one issue currently facing businesses, however the second largest issue they’re experiencing now involves young workers.

Ellzey said, “...the second most common difficulty is that young people entering the workforce do not have adequate soft skills.”

He said SCDEW is offering multiple job training programs to assist with young people moving into the labor force. He also recommended for young job seekers to look at summer jobs such as at water parks, zoos and other seasonal industries as a place to grow skills.

The website Wallethub conducted a study of data from the from the U.S. Department of Labor to determine how states are faring in their economic recovery from the pandemic by comparing their unemployment to prior years.

South Carolina ranks 30th nationwide in the listing for April 2022 in terms of unemployment.

The top five states with the lowest unemployment were:

  • Utah 1.9%
  • Nebraska 1.9%
  • Indiana 2.2%
  • Montana 2.3%
  • Minnesota 2.2%

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