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      SC unemployment rate declines in January

      According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the unemployment rate in January was 10.5%, an improvement of four-tenths of a percent over December.

      December's revised unemployment rate was 10.9%.

      As the 5th consecutive month of employment growth for the state, this represents an additional 3,599 people going back to work. Since January of 2010, the state has seen employment rise by approximately 18,600.

      The DEW says over the past 40 years, January has seen decreases in non-farm job counts when compared to December's estimates. January of 2011, continued to follow this pattern, with a drop of 42,700 nonagricultural jobs in January.

      The DEW says the most affected industries were retail/trade, which dropped 10,700 jobs as those hired to work the holiday season temporarily were released.

      You can read the DEW's entire report here.

      Here's a look at how the counties in our area ranked.

      Marion County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 21%. That's an increase of .4% over December.

      Marlboro County is tied with Chester County with a rate of 17.6%. That's down 1.2% over December.

      In December, Dillon's unemployment rate was 15.8%. It dropped to 15.2% in January.

      Horry County ranked 20th in the state with 13.4%, up from 13.1% in December.

      Georgetown County was almost stagnant with 12.3% unemployment, just dropping a tenth of a percent over December.

      Darlington County ranked 25th at 11.6%. The county was at 12.1% in December.

      In December, Florence County was at 11.3%, dropping to 11.1% in January.