Fairfield employment numbers looking good

WINNSBORO – The unemployment rate for Fairfield County has dropped dramatically in the last year from 5.3 percent in September, 2018 to 4.4 percent in August, 2019 and even lower this last month (September) to 3.3 percent. That is lower than the national rate of 3.5 percent and just slightly above the state’s rate of 2.9 percent

The announcement was made this week by the Employers Association of South Carolina.

County Administrator Jason Taylor said that’s good news for Fairfield.

“That our unemployment rate is going down is one of the things I’m most proud of,” Taylor said. “The flip concern of that, however, is that we’ve got a lot of new industries in the county that are about to announce or are hoping to announce shortly, that will be bringing in 500 – 600 jobs in the next 12 – 14 months. With an unemployment rate that low, we need to be sure we have the labor to support it.”

Taylor said he wants to draw that labor out of Fairfield, not out of Blythewood and other areas surrounding the county.

“We’ve got to work on some quality of life issues and residential development to keep them here,” he said. “We’ve been losing population and we want to reverse that. We’d like people to come to work and live here and invest their money here. We don’t want people coming in to take the jobs and then take their earnings back to other towns,” Taylor said. “So we need a labor pool and we need places for that labor pool to live here in Fairfield County. We need that balance.”

 “To have a dependable labor force, we have to have a residential housing stock – which we don’t yet. Building up our labor pool is a two to three year fix,” Taylor said.

“However, the need for labor for industry is a good problem to have, and I think we’re doing really well.”

While Taylor acknowledged that there is some concern in the community that Element is currently laying off a number of workers, he said that layoff is cyclical.

“This is the slow season for Element. Their Christmas production is slowing down now, but I understand they’ll be re-hiring their workers after the first of the year,” Taylor said.

The State’s unemployment rate, according to the report, is doing equally as well. The number of working South Carolinians moved substantially higher, establishing a new record of 1,311,379.