Local unemployment rates declined in March, following a statewide trend.

Orangeburg County’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.8 percent in February to 5.9 percent in March. It had the fifth-highest unemployment rate among the state’s 46 counties.

Bamberg County’s rate dropped from 7.2 percent in February to 6 percent in March. It had the state’s third-highest rate.

Calhoun County’s rate dropped from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent in March. It had the state’s 25th highest rate.

All South Carolina counties saw their unemployment rates decline in March.

The seasonally adjusted statewide rate declined from 3.5 percent in February to 3.4 percent in March.

S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey called the improvement “more good news for South Carolina.”

“The number of people participating in the labor force is larger than it has ever been at 2,384,364. While the labor force participation rate remains at 57.2 percent, there are nearly 68,000 more people in the labor force than pre-pandemic, and the South Carolina Labor Force Participation Task Force is continuing to examine the state’s challenges and opportunities to increase the rate,” Ellzey said.

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South Carolina is expecting an increase in the number of initial unemployment claims in April due to the effect of supply chain issues on employers like the auto industry.

In other nearby counties, March unemployment rates were:

• Allendale – 6.7 percent

• Barnwell – 5.6 percent

• Dorchester – 2.9 percent

• Lexington – 2.7 percent

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