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South Carolina's unemployment rate drops to 8.3

Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's unemployment rate dropped for the fourth straight month to the lowest it has been since October 2008.

November's unemployment rate was 8.3 percent, down from 8.6 percent in October, the state Department of Employment and Workforce announced Friday.

November's jobless rate is the lowest in the state since October 2008, when the unemployment rate was 8 percent.

South Carolina added nearly 10,000 jobs in November, with the majority of them in retail as the Christmas shopping season approached. The state also added 3,100 jobs in government. South Carolina lost 2,200 leisure and hospitality jobs as the tourism season wound down.

The national unemployment rate for November also dropped, to 7.7 percent. Jobless rates fell in 45 states last month, and South Carolina's rate tied for the 14th-highest unemployment in the country.

The state jobless rate has dropped four straight months since reaching 9.7 percent in July. The peak unemployment rate was 12 percent in November 2990.

Gov. Nikki Haley said the unemployment numbers were good news and she plans to keep focusing on bringing jobs to South Carolina.

"We're headed in the right direction. But we can't stop now. We're pleased to see our state's unemployment at a four year low, but we understand there is work to do for us to make sure that number continues to drop," Haley said in a statement.

Unemployment dropped in 18 of South Carolina's 46 counties in November and remained the lowest in Lexington County, at 6.3 percent. The jobless rate went up in 24 counties, with the highest rate now in Marion County at 15.8 percent. Four counties marked no change.