Updated:COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) (AP)ong> - South Carolina's unemployment has gone down for the eighth month in a row.
The state Department of Employment and Workforce said Monday that unemployment was 6.4 percent in January.
That's a drop from December's jobless rate of 6.6 percent. State officials said December was the first time in more than a decade that South Carolina's unemployment had been below the national rate.
In January, the number of employed people in South Carolina reached a record high of nearly 2,031,000. That's an increase of more than 22,000 people over the past year.
Non-agricultural jobs in South Carolina went down by 4,800 in January but are up by 37,000 compared to a year ago. For more on South Carolina's unemployment numbers, click here.
North Carolina's unemployment rate is also falling -- at 6.7 percent.
The state Commerce Department reported Monday that January's jobless rate fell from 6.9 percent in December and continues approaching the national average of 6.6 percent.
An additional 17,000 people were working in January, compared with the previous month. The total number of people with jobs or looking for work increased by 6,000.
That's important because some economists say much of reason for the rapid fall in the jobless over the past year was related to thousands of discouraged people giving up on finding work. The same trend of a shrinking labor force and declining unemployment rate has been noted nationally as well.
The January report shows more than 60,000 left the labor force in the previous year. Click here for more on North Carolina's unemployment numbers.