BRIEFS: General Assembly to return; Unemployment drops

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General Assembly to return Tuesday, thumbs-a-twiddlin’

Staff reports  |  The S.C. House and Senate are scheduled to return to Columbia Tuesday to finalize a budget compromise.  But they’ve got a problem:  House and Senate negotiators are at an impasse over the $8 billion spending plan.

Members will still show up, however, and receive their per diem pay as they wait for members of a conference committee to reach a compromise on policy differences related to state spending on higher education and how to cover higher pension costs for state employees.

Because the traditional legislative session ended three weeks early, legislators have more time than usual to finish with the budget.  If they can’t reach a compromise by the end of next week, they’ll have five weeks to go before the current spending plan runs out June 30.

Unemployment rate keeps dropping

South Carolina’s unemployment rate for April was 4.3 percent, a tenth of a point lower than the statewide rate for March 2017.  South Carolina’s rate is slightly lower than the national average.

McMaster

“With today’s news that more South Carolinians are working than ever before, and that the unemployment rate has dropped once again, it shows that our focus on economic development and workforce training is helping to improve the quality of life for all of our people and move our state forward,” Gov. Henry McMaster said today in a statement.

According to the state Department of Employment and Workforce, the number of employed people in South Carolina last month was 2.23 million, up almost 4,000.  Also in April, the number of unemployed people dropped 2,126 people to 101,513.

Across the state, the unemployment rate dropped in 45 of 46 counties, with Lee County’s average rate steady at 5.6 percent.  The highest rates of unemployment were in Bamberg County (6.8 percent), Marion County (6.7 percent), Allendale County (6.5 percent), Orangeburg County (6.0 percent) and Marlboro County (5.9 percent).  The lowest rates were in Charleston and Lexington counties, both of which reported 3 percent of people unemployed.

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