South Carolina ranks high in job growth, hiring in hospitality

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – While the latest jobs report for the United States was mildly disappointing and fell short of expectations, South Carolina’s labor market is showing life.

The state’s unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent in July, the lowest figure since October 2000. The details of the August numbers are forthcoming and are calculated by the state Department of Employment and Workforce.

Workers are finding it easier to land jobs in South Carolina due to openings in the hospitality market, growth in the technology sector with more start-ups popping up and the continuing strength of the manufacturing industry. One of the lone fields lagging in the state’s jobs market is transportation.

“There’s economic development and growth in South Carolina, with plenty of pick-up in the Charleston metropolitan area,” said Dr. Frank Hefner, a professor of economics at the College of Charleston. “We’re going to see continued tightness in the labor market, which means the unemployment rate is going to drop.”

In recent months, momentum in the food and beverage industry has created additional jobs, in part due to the summer hiring season. Charleston is known for fine dining and is a prime tourist attraction, leading many in the sector to see it as a year-round hot spot for kitchen and waiting careers.

“There is a constant need for hospitality workers, we are always looking,” said Jesse Sutton, the manager of 492, a restaurant on King Street. “In the kitchen, we’re looking for technical experts. We’re perfectly willing to teach, but it requires a certain attitude.”

Sutton, who says he has worked in the hospitality industry since he was 18-years-old, oversees hiring at the restaurant and understands how to identify the right candidates.

“We use several different web-based services for hiring. One is called Serve Your City, which is based in Charleston, and the other is Indeed that is used a lot on the national level,” Sutton said.

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