S.C. hits employment high point as Ga. reaches jobless low

The economists said employment peaked in February and fell sharply afterward, marking the...
The economists said employment peaked in February and fell sharply afterward, marking the beginning of the recession.(Source: Gray News)
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 9:25 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:25 AM CST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The two-state region reached some economic milestones this week as South Carolina reported more people employed than ever in state history and Georgia’s unemployment rate hit an all-time low.

In South Carolina, officials announced Friday that the November employment numbers show 2.32 million people employed, which is 4,302 more than the previous high in October of 2019 and 18,279 more than the pre-pandemic level in February of 2020.

“That number is made even more significant by the fact that the United States as a whole has 3,600,000 fewer people employed in November of 2021 than prior to the pandemic in February of 2020,” said Dan Ellzey, executive director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Along with the rise in people employed, the state saw a significant decrease in the unemployment rate going from 3.9 percent in October to a pandemic-era low 3.7 percent in November.

In the week of Nov. 21-27, Ellzey’s agency received 776 initial claims for unemployment. That’s the first time for initial claims to go below 1,000 in South Carolina since the agency began reporting this information in 1987, Ellzey said.

Not seasonally adjusted, nonfarm payroll employment climbed by 16,000 from October 2021 to November 2021. Job increases were reported in trade, transportation and utilities; professional and business services; government; construction; other services; information; education and health services; and financial activities.

Decreases were reported in leisure and hospitality; and manufacturing.

Mining and logging remained flat.

In the Peach State

Meanwhile, Georgia’s unemployment rate has fallen for the 19th straight month to 2.8 percent for November 2021, an all-time low. Additionally, Georgia is reporting an all-time high for the number of individuals employed.

The number of employed Georgians in November was up 11,983 from October to 5.027 million, officials announced Thursday.

Despite the recovery we’re seeing numbers-wise, many industries are still facing staffing shortages. Health care, retail, accommodations and food services all top the list of industries with the most job openings in Georgia.

Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped another three tenths of a point to 2.8 percent in November, the lowest rate in Georgia’s recorded history. Georgia’s unemployment rate was more than 1 percent lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.2 percent.

“We have fully recovered from this pandemic when it comes to employed Georgians, employing more people today than before the pandemic struck,” said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “The hard work is still in front of us as job creation is outpacing new workers in the labor force.”

The labor force was down 235 in November to 5.17 million and is up only 1,220 over the previous seven months. In comparing November 2021 figures to pre-pandemic March 2020 figures, the labor force remains down 32,000, the number of employed is up 10,000, and the number of unemployed is down 42,000. The number of unemployed was down 12,218 to 146,218 in November, the lowest figure since December 2000.

Jobs in Georgia were up 13,500 over the month and are up 4.4 percent over the year to 4.62 million. Since May (a six-month period), job growth has increased by 130,600.

The sectors with the most over-the-month job gains included:

  • Transportation and warehousing, 4,300.
  • Non-durable goods manufacturing, 2,300
  • Accommodation and food services, 2,200
  • Health care and social assistance, 2,000
  • Wholesale trade, 1,800
  • Professional, scientific and technical services, 1,100
  • Durable goods manufacturing, 1,100
  • Arts, entertainment and Recreation, 1,000

Initial unemployment claims were down 10,116 from October to 17,194 in November, marking the first time since November 2019 that initial claims fell below the 20,000 plateau. Initial claims were down 86,981 over the year.

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