SC's unemployment rate improves in June

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina's unemployment rate has dropped to 10.7 percent in June, but one Pee Dee county continues to top the list with the worst jobless rate in the state.

The Department of Employment and Workforce reported Tuesday that the state's June unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percent from 11.1 percent in May. Compared to unemployment rates from June 2009, the figure improved 1.2 percent.

While the new figure might be a bright spot in the state's ongoing unemployment problem, Tuesday's report didn't bring good news for the residents of Marion County. The county's unemployment figures inflated to 19.3 percent in June, up 0.7 percent in May.

Allendale and Marlboro counties rounded out the top three counties with the highest unemployment, at 19 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively.

The new South Carolina report revealed the number of employed people across the state dropped 1,009, and the number of unemployed decreased by 8,609 people. Officials said June marked the fifth straight month of decline in the unemployment rate, and the fourth straight month for a decline in the civilian labor force.

"The four-month decline in the labor force continues to be a major concern," John L. Finan, executive director of the Department of Employment and Workforce, said. "The drop in our state's jobless rate has been largely driven by the unemployed dropping out of the labor force."

Tuesday's report also revealed there were approximately 3,000 fewer jobs in the state last month, and nearly 10,000 fewer people in the workforce. Officials attribute the loss of 3,000 jobs to state and local schools releasing staff for the summer recess.

"We still have a long way to go in increasing consumer confidence, which will lead to increased demand and more job growth," Finan said.

South Carolina has had one of the nation's highest jobless rates for several years, peaking at 12.5 percent in January. It has shown steady improvement since then.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.