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      SC unemployment rate improves for sixth straight month

      The South Carolina unemployment rate decreased to 10.2 percent in February from 10.5 percen in January. That's the sixth consecutive decrease.

      An additional 3,744 people found jobs in February when compared to January's levels.

      The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says there are about 218, 940 unemployed people in the state, a decrease of approximately 33,000 from a year ago.

      But the total labor force has gone down by about 4,989 people since February of 2010. That means fewer people are looking for jobs.

      The national unemployment rate also dropped one-tenth of a percent from 9.0 percent in January to 8.9 percent in February.

      Some of the noted areas of improvement in South Carolina were:

      Leisure and Hospitality: 4,600

      Professional and Business Services: 4,500

      Education and Health Services: 4,000

      Construction: 2,500 - first increase since October, 2010

      Retail Trade: 1,500

      Manufacturing: 900

      Government: 2,200 - mostly driven by state government education services personnel returning from year - end holiday break

      "Employment in South Carolina continues to improve," said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director John Finan in a statement on the DEW web site. "We are encouraged about consecutive monthly employment gains, and as spring approaches, we optimistically look toward an improving economy."

      Because of a software change by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the county data will be published on April 6.