Unemployment rate ticks up slightly

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.4 percent in December from 8.3 percent in November. The rate was 1.2 percent lower than the December 2011 rate of 9.6 percent.

Over the month, the number of employed improved by 5,325 to 1,969,560. The number of unemployed grew since November by 3,211 to 180,032 in December, and the labor force expanded by 8,536 to 2,149,592.

Nationally, the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent, with roughly 28,000 more Americans working and 164,000 additional people searching for work.

South Carolina's nonagricultural employment (not seasonally adjusted) fell 5,800 from November to December 2012, reaching 1,874,300. This was the first decline since July 2012. Since a year ago, non-farm jobs were up 31,500 or 1.7 percentage points, compared to a national increase of 1.4 percentage points.

Although overall payroll employment declined in December, several industries saw growth: Trade Transportation and Utilities (+2,400), Education and Health Services (+1,100), and Construction (+700). Modest increases were seen in Financial Activities (+300) and Information (+100). In addition, retail trade demand remained high, and health care needs continued in a positive direction during the month.

Leisure and Hospitality fell 5,900 because of a drop in demand for arts, entertainment, and recreation, as well as accommodation and food services. Local government services and employment services demand was also down during the month causing a drop of 2,300 in Government and 1,700 in Professional and Business Services.

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