South Carolina closed out 2013 with a significant drop in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 6.6 percent in December, down from 7.1 percent in November.
After showing little movement through late spring and summer, the rate has trended downward during the final four months of the year, marking a drop of 1.5 percentage points since August.
This is the first month since January 2001 that South Carolina’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate.
Chesterfield County’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, down from 8.5 percent in November and down from 12.5 percent in December 2012. Chesterfield County’s labor force was reported to be 18,403 people, up slightly from 18,373 in November but down from the 18,765 in December 2012.
The estimated number of unemployed people in December was 142,371, a decrease of 9,800. The number of those employed increased by 10,572 to a level of 2,011,198. The labor force was estimated at 2,153,569 people, showing a small increase from November’s level of 2,152,797.
Since December 2012, the unemployment rate has declined 2 percent and the total number of unemployed people declined by 43,493. During the same period, 26,824 people found work and 16,669 people left the labor force.
The national unemployment rate for December was 6.7 percent. Driving the U.S. decline was a decrease in the labor force of nearly 347,000 people.