Unemployment rates rose throughout The T&D Region in January, reflecting a pattern seen across the state.

Orangeburg County saw its unemployment rate increase to 7.2% in January, up from 6.3% in December, according to S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce numbers released Monday.

“I am a little surprised with the increase in January,” Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said.

“January is not a month where we typically see an increase. There have been no recent closures and we have had nothing but expansions and positions we can’t fill,” he said.

Robinson said that perhaps the uptick was due to holiday employment falling off, or perhaps seasonal layoffs at some of the county’s larger seasonal employers.

He noted the county has two pending economic development announcements that will be made in the near future.

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Bamberg County saw its unemployment rate rise from 6.3% in December to 7.3% in January.

Bamberg County had the third-highest unemployment rate and Orangeburg County had the fourth-highest rate out of the state’s 46 counties in January.

Calhoun County’s rate for January was 4.2%, an increase from 3.7% in December. The county was tied for the 17th highest unemployment rate with Abbeville, Darlington, Greenwood and Sumter counties.

Marlboro County had the state’s highest unemployment rate in January at 8.6%.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.5% in January. That’s a decline from the revised rate of 3.6% in December 2021.

While the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased for the month of January, all counties in the state saw their rates increase.

The difference stems from the way the statistics are presented.

The state’s unemployment rate is adjusted for seasonal differences in employment, taking into account teachers who aren’t working and summertime employment.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased to 4% in January from 3.9% in December, according to the Current Population Survey.

A total of 2,292,415 South Carolinians were working in January, which is 5,854 more than December. It’s also about 51,748 more than were working in January 2021.

S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey noted wages are increasing.

“We also saw an increase in the state’s average hourly earnings to $28.06 in January 2022 which, compared to its prior rates of $27.05 in January 2021 and $25.47 in January 2020, shows a positive upward trend that is highly encouraging for individuals in the workforce,” he said.

In other nearby counties, January unemployment rates were:

• Allendale – 7.7%

• Barnwell – 6.8%

• Dorchester – 3.2%

• Lexington – 2.9%

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