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      SC employment reaches high as population rises

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Nikki Haley's administration says South Carolina's employment reached an all-time high in December, but the numbers don't take into account the state's growing population.

      "Having more SouthCarolinians employed than at any other time in our state's history didn'thappen by chance - it's the direct result of Team South Carolina's strategiceffort to recruit and expand businesses in every corner of our state," saidGovernor Nikki Haley. "This is a real testament to our ever growing businesscommunity and world-class workforce and we couldn't be more excited to keepthese jobs coming in and getting every person in our state back to work."

      The state Department of Employment and Workforce on Monday called 2013 a banner year for employment, with nearly 2,026,000 people employed in December. The agency notes the state surpassed 2 million people employed in November 2012 and has remained above that since. Haley credits her administration's job recruitment efforts to the all-time high.

      "This is amazing news forSouth Carolina because it shows that the state's economy continues to improveand as a result businesses are hiring," said Cheryl M. Stanton, DEW executivedirector. "We will continue to do our part to develop the state's workforce tomeet our employers' needs and to get to a point where every South Carolinianwho wants to work can."

      But while the jobless rate has declined over the last few years to 6.6 percent, the state's all-time low was 3.2 percent set in 1998. That's because more jobs are needed for more people.

      The Census estimates that South Carolina grew by more than 51,400 people just from 2012 to 2013.

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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