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South Carolina sees unemployment rate increase in May

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(The Center Square) — South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in May to 3.4%, and the state’s top labor official said higher interest rates may be partly to blame.

While the state’s unemployment rate increased from 3.2% last month, officials noted it is below the national rate of 4%.

“In May, employers reported an increase of 3,300 in payroll, and the number of employed rose by about 2,000 people, continuing the record climb to 2,406,502,” South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director William Floyd said in a Tuesday statement. “The labor force also grew by nearly 6,000 as more people entered the workforce looking for employment, with the labor force participation rate holding at 57.2%.”

In his analysis, Floyd said the Palmetto state’s unemployment rate might now reflect the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates in 2022 and 2023 in a bid to tame inflation, which he said also shows up in the national numbers.

“When working with jobseekers, we frequently see that unemployment leads to opportunity. South Carolina has the fifth-highest job opening rate in the country,” Floyd said. “Business is booming with new and expanding needs. And there are schools, training programs, assessments, and more to help jobseekers pivot their skills to fill these jobs.

“South Carolina’s dynamic employment landscape is ripe with prospects and career growth, and the resources of the SC Works centers are ready to help connect individuals looking for work with businesses actively hiring,” Floyd added.

Neighboring Georgia also saw its unemployment rate increase slightly in May, hitting 3.2%, up from a revised 3.1% in April.

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