SC, NC unemployment rates fell in December - FOX Carolina 21

SC, NC unemployment rates fall in December

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COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -

South Carolina unemployment has fallen below the national jobless rate for the first time in more than a decade.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Tuesday that the state's unemployed rate for December was 6.6. percent. That marked the state's fourth straight monthly decline.

Nationwide, unemployment was estimated at 6.7 percent for December. State officials said that last month marked the first time since January 2001 that South Carolina's jobless number fell below the national rate.

Jobless rates fell last month in all but six of South Carolina's 46 counties. State officials attributed the declines to combined gains in trade, transportation, utilities and hospitality jobs of about 6,200 jobs.

North Carolina's unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in December.

The state Commerce Department said Tuesday the state's jobless rate dropped from 7.4 percent in November. The reported unemployment rate fell 2.5 percentage points last year.

The report shows that during 2013 almost 125,000 fewer people were reported as unemployed. Gov. Pat McCrory started taking credit this month for an economic comeback he says resulted from Republican tax cuts and fewer business regulations.

But economists say the fast drop in the unemployment rate could be because so many people have become discouraged, are giving up on finding a job and are no longer being counted.

The state's population of working-age adults who are looking for jobs shrank by 111,000 in 2013.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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