Unemployment down in South Carolina

South Carolina's unemployment rate has gone down by one half of a percentage point.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday the state's jobless rate was 9.1 percent in September.

That's down from August, when state unemployment was 9.6 percent. Nationally, unemployment was 7.8 percent in September, the lowest level since January 2009.

Agency officials say that the number of unemployed people in South Carolina dropped by nearly 11,000 over the past month.

September was the ninth out of the past 12 months in which the state experienced job growth. During the month, the industry gaining the most jobs was Government (15,500 jobs, 4.7 percent), mostly in the subsector of government education services.

Other industries gaining jobs were Educational and Health Services (3,300 jobs, 1.5 percent) and Manufacturing (400 jobs, 0.2 percent). These gains were because of hiring completion for the fall school term, an increase in health care and social assistance demand and an increase in durable goods manufacturing.

Industries losing jobs during the month included Leisure and Hospitality (-5,800, -2.6 percent); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-2,500 jobs, -0.7 percent); Professional and Business Services (-2,100 jobs, -0.9 percent); Construction (-1,900 jobs, -2.48 percent); Financial Activities (-200, -0.2 percent); and Information (-200, -0.7 percent). These industry job losses were because of the end of the summer tourism season, a decline for administrative and support services and a weakening in demand for specialty trade contractors.

This month, the jobless benefits agency announced it was implementing layoffs of its own. Department officials said the cuts were necessary after the elimination of federal funding for emergency compensation and extended benefits programs.

The agency says the cuts will not affect anyone receiving benefits.