There’s mixed news on unemployment for 2-state region

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 9:33 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In the latest figures, Augusta recorded an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent, up two-tenths of a percent over the month, Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Thursday.

Meanwhile, South Carolina says its statewide unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point in December, the latest data available.

In Augusta

A year ago, the unemployment rate in Augusta was 5.3 percent. Despite this, Augusta saw highs in the labor force, number of employed, and jobs in the month of December.

“Job numbers are up across Georgia, and our focus in 2022 is encouraging people to enter the workforce to help businesses provide the goods and services necessary for Georgia’s economy to continue to grow,” Butler said.

The labor force increased in Augusta by 1,442 and ended the month with 267,115. That number is down 3,020 when compared to December of 2020.

Augusta finished the month with 259,770 employed residents.  That number increased by 772 over the month and is up by 3,979 when compared to the same time a year ago.

Augusta ended December with 240,900 jobs. That number was up by 1,600 from November to December and increased by 900 when compared to this time last year.

The number of unemployment claims went up by 13 percent in Augusta in December. When compared to last December, claims were down by about 81 percent.

Employ Georgia, the GDOL’s online job listing service at showed about 7,907 active job postings in Augusta for December.

In South Carolina

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December dropped to 3.5 percent, the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce said Tuesday. That’s down from 3.7 percent in November.

“We ended 2021 with more good news. South Carolina set a new record for the highest number of individuals working in our state’s history,” Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey said. “Employment rose in December by 3,008 to a total of 2,320,717 employed. That is 97,237 more than last December and 21,376 more than the pre-pandemic number.”

Ellzey said the state’s unemployment rate is moving “closer and closer to our pre-pandemic rate.”

A spike in initial unemployment claims in December and January, Ellzey said, happens every December and January because of seasonal hirings and layoffs, adding they expect the number to drop going into the first quarter of 2022.

“Another interesting trend to report is that wages have increased in the state by approximately 7.5 percent since the beginning of 2020,” Ellzey said.

In fact, industries like education and healthcare, construction, as well as leisure and hospitality, have experienced more than a 15 percent increase in the past two years.

State employment officials said the highest job gains were in the trade, transportation and utilities; manufacturing, education and health services; and leisure and hospitality fields.

Professional and business services; construction, financial activities, information and government industries showed job losses in December, the data states.

A seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate removes the effects of events that follow a more-or-less regular pattern each year, such as tourist-related hiring and summer closings.

The national unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell three-tenths of a point in December from 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and WCSC