The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7 percent in July from 5.3 percent one month earlier, increasing the unemployment roll by more than 9,000 people.
But the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has a plan—under a more than $1 million federal grant—to boost employment in rural counties long term.
Manufacturing, professional and business services, and education and health services lost the most jobs last month—1,000, 3,800, and 1,700, respectively. The leisure and hospitality industry added 1,000 jobs, continuing momentum from the previous month.
Agency director, Cheryl Stanton had this to say in a statement released Monday by the agency—
“South Carolina has many reasons to remain positive about the economic future for our state despite this month’s slight uptick in the unemployment rate,” said DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton. “More than two million people are working in South Carolina, just below historic highs reached earlier this year. Over the last year, more than 28,000 people have found work, and the state’s unemployment rate has declined by approximately 2 percentage points.”
On Thursday, DEW announced in a news release that it would administer a $1,079,016 federal grant in six rural counties to create a “pipeline of skilled workers for the healthcare, advanced manufacturing, transportation, and distribution and logistics industries.”
These service areas—Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Clarendon, Hampton and Orangeburg counties—were chosen based on potential job opportunities and impact, and such data as unemployment, poverty and education.
Under the grant, awarded by the federal Education and Labor departments through the Workforce Investment Act, DEW will work with the state Department of Education and the Technical College System to train workers in rural areas.
The agency will also use the grant, which expires in 2016, to teach high school students and adults the communications and interpersonal skills needed for the workplace.