Indications of a healthy labor market are showing in the Upstate.
South Carolina appears to be headed back to its pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 2.9%. The state has an unemployment rate of 3.5% with seasonal adjustments, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce,
It brings South Carolina ahead of the national unemployment rate of 3.8%.
“The overall economic progress is good,” said Bryan Grady, labor market information director for the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
A 3.5% unemployment rate is evidence of a fairly healthy job market, Grady said.
On a local level, the unemployment rate in both Anderson and Pickens County is 3.7%. Unlike state numbers, those county unemployment numbers are not seasonally adjusted, Grady said.
There’s still room to improve.
Grady is part of a task force to raise the labor force participation rate in South Carolina. That is the percentage of South Carolinians who are working or actively looking for work. At 57.2%, the state lags nationally, Grady said. In February 2020, before the pandemic, the rate was 57.4%.
That said, the labor market is certainly in a tumultuous state with many people switching jobs. More people are quitting, said Grady, but with employer demand high, more people are being hired as well.
“There’s certainly a lot of churn,” Grady said, “but the number of people getting hired is exceeding the number of people leaving their jobs.”
There’s no need to worry about the turbulence, Grady said.
People are switching voluntarily because they’re finding careers that are a better fit for themselves, not because current labor market conditions are forcing them to, Grady said.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to be alarmed,” he said, “people are finding better jobs for themselves.”
Kaelyn Cassidy lives in Pendleton and writes stories about the Greenville area. When she’s not stuck to her keyboard, she likes thrift shopping and spending time outdoors. You can reach Kaelyn at [email protected], or @kaelyn_cassidy on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Anderson Independent Mail: Upstate labor market approaching pre-COVID unemployment levels