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South Carolina unemployment again holds at 6.6 percent

COLUMBIA (AP) — South Carolina’s unemployment rate held steady last month at 6.6. percent, state officials said Friday.

The state’s jobless rate was again unchanged in February, according to Department of Employment and Workforce. That marked the third month in a row that South Carolina unemployment remained at that level.

The figure was 0.5 percent higher than February 2014, according to data from state officials. Nationally, unemployment last month was at 5.5 percent, representing a slight decrease from January.

State officials said that South Carolina’s labor force went up nearly 12,000 last month, to more than 2,238,000. That’s the number of people in the state who were looking for jobs or working.

State employment in February went up more than 10,400 to 2,090,232, which Workforce officials said was a historic high. The estimated number of unemployed people was around 148,000, an increase of nearly 1,500 from January, officials said.

South Carolina’s leisure and hospitality sector showed the biggest gains last month, with an increase of 4,000 jobs. Professional and businesses services jobs, which went up by 1,700 last month, are up a total of 13,400 compared to one year ago.

Constructions jobs were also up by 2,500 in February.

Allendale County was home to South Carolina’s highest unemployment rate, at 13.6 percent. The state’s lowest jobless rate was in Lexington County, where unemployment was 5.4 percent last month.

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