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Unemployment in South Carolina inched upward during month of March to 6.7 percent

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — South Carolina's unemployment rate has inched upward for the month of March, state officials said Tuesday.

In a news release, the Department of Employment and Workforce said that the state's jobless rate was 6.7 percent in March. That's a tenth of a percentage point higher than the three previous months — at 6.6 percent — and more than half a percentage point higher than a year ago — at 6.1 percent.

Nationally, unemployment was unchanged, at 5.5 percent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 11 other states marked jobless rate increases last month.

In March, state officials say the number of South Carolinians working increased by more than 5,800 and reached another historic high, with an estimated 2,096,110 people. Officials said last month was the 64th month in a row that employment grew in South Carolina.

The state's biggest job gains happened in the construction sector, which grew by 1,100 positions last month. Education and health services also added 700 jobs, and government jobs were up by 100.

Leisure and hospitality jobs were down by 2,400 over the last month, and trade, transportation and utilities jobs decreased by 1,500.

All job sectors are up compared with a year ago. Contrasted with March 2014, trade jobs are up by 9,300, and professional and business services jobs have grown by 8,900. Leisure and hospitality jobs have also increased by 6,700 in the past year.

Monthly jobless rates were down in all of the state's 46 counties in March. Unemployment was highest in Allendale County, at 12.5 percent. Charleston and Lexington counties had the state's lowest unemployment last month, with both marking 5.1 percent.


Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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