Unemployment Up Slightly

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- South Carolina's unemployment rate increased slightly in January. However, nearly 27, 000 more people are working than a year ago.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Monday the jobless rate in January was 8.7 percent. That's up from a revised rate of 8.6 percent in December. The national jobless rate also increased slightly in January, from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent.

The agency says much of the loss came because of seasonal layoffs and the closing of schools between semesters.

For those seasonal workers who are now unemployed, officials at DEW say they will be able to file for unemployment insurance if needed. Previous media reports erroneously stated DEW offices were shutting down. But, in-person unemployment insurance claims services at 16 offices were discontinued. Officials encourage claimants to file online. They say 98% of the population files online. To do so, you may visit www.mybenefits.sc.gov.

The information sector was the only segment of the economy to add jobs in January, with 600 additional positions. Trade, transportation and utilities saw a decline of 9,600 jobs, while government employment dropped by 8,500.

Marion County had the highest unemployment rate at 19.2 percent. Lexington County had the lowest rate at 6.8 percent.

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