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Website says county is No. 3 for job seekers

Posted: December 26, 2013 5:08 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A consumer advocacy website, NerdWallet.com, recently posted an article naming Kershaw County the No. 3 county in the state for job seekers. NerdWallet.com describes itself as seeking to help consumers locate “where the jobs will be.”

The article, “The Best Places in South Carolina for Job Seekers,” discussed how South Carolina has been “on the road to recovery” as its unemployment rate dropped from 8.8 percent in Oct. 2012 to 7.5 percent in Oct. 2013. This figure, along with the state’s potential for economic, industrial development, prompted researcher Annie Wang to investigate which counties in the state were most attractive to job seekers.

Wang said she used three guiding questions to determine her results:

• Is the county growing (especially in the working-age population)?

• Can individuals live comfortably in the county, in regards to homeowner costs, mortgage payments and taxes?

• Are most people employed?

Wang visited the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Web page to ascertain answers to these questions, which lists such data as civilian labor force, employment and unemployment rates.

Kershaw County is described very favorably by NerdWallet.com, as being “located in central South Carolina and part of the Columbia metropolitan region.” Wang explains the county seat is Camden, “home to the Carolina Cup, a famous steeplechase horse race.”

Especially attractive, Wang said, is that Kershaw County experienced 5.4 percent growth in the working-age population from 2009 to 2011 while the median household income was $43,509. She listed the county’s top employers as KershawHealth, Haier, and the Target Distribution Center in Lugoff.

A final factor Wang focused on that she said makes Kershaw County especially attractive is that it is home to readySC, one of the country’s oldest worker training programs. The program is a division of the S.C. Technical College System and provides relevant employee training. Wang also praised Central Carolina Technical College as having an important role in the county and as being viewed as a major asset, in work training and in expanding the skills of already trained individuals.

In response to this positive assessment of Kershaw County, Economic Development Director Peggy McLean said she found it “exciting for others to recognize something we’ve known all along -- that Kershaw County is a great place to work and live.”

McLean added that “being named No. 3 on the ‘Best Places in South Carolina for Job-Seekers’ list proves that Kershaw County offers opportunities and growth potentials for the working age population. This is a great community and we are pleased to be recognized for our strong, diverse economy and outstanding quality of life.”

Kershaw County Administrator Vic Carpenter agreed with McLean, with similar excitement, saying he was pleased to hear of the positive acclaim for the county, though he could not personally speak for NerdWallet’s methodology.

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce recently released its findings on SC’s employment situation for Nov. 2013.

The report shows that as of November, Kershaw County’s unemployment rate is 5.6 percent, with a labor force of 29,223 -- 27,578 of those are employed; 1,645 unemployed. This is a substantial drop from October’s unemployment rate for Kershaw County which was 6.4 percent. It is also a rather significant decline from Nov. 2012’s unemployment rate for the county, which was 8.0 percent.

The report said the state’s “seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate declined significantly to 7.1 percent from the October rate of 7.5 percent.”

Since Nov. 2012, the report said, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.5 percent and the estimated amount of unemployed people has decline by 34,674.

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