Unemployment Rate Drops

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s unemployment continued a two-month decline in February.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce on Friday said the jobless rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point, to 10.2 percent.

Nationally, unemployment dropped slightly, from 9 percent in January to 8.9 percent last month.

Officials say nearly all industries showed gains. The biggest increases were in leisure and hospitality jobs, which grew by 4,600. Professional and business services also gained 4,500 jobs.

The state’s labor force decreased to 2.15 million. Officials said the state’s total labor force has decreased by nearly 15,000 ince February 2010. That could show discouraged workers leaving the job market.

Because of a computer change, officials said county-by-county numbers would not be available until April 6.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)