The Lowcountry and its four counties definitely mirror employment/unemployment trends throughout much of the US: unemployment rates are the lowest in many years, but the number of people employed has actually decreased. This is because the labor force is shrinking—here and elsewhere—as increasing numbers of people are retiring. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, that number will keep growing, with the result that there will likely be a shortage of labor, particularly among skilled workers. In turn, that will put pressure on employers to increase wages and salaries.
Three of our counties are at or below the national unemployment rate and two are below the South Carolina average.
The sharp decrease in employment in Beaufort County in October is at least partly due to Hurricane Matthew, which closed businesses, especially on Hilton Head, for at least the short term.