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      SC unemployment drops to 7.1 percent in November

      By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's unemployment rate dropped yet again last month, falling to 7.1 percent in November.

      The number released Friday by the Department of Employment and Workforce was the lowest South Carolina's jobless rate has been since August 2008, when it was also 7.1 percent.

      The state said November's rate was the closest South Carolina unemployment had been to the national rate since 2002. Last month, unemployment across the country was estimated at 7.0 percent.

      State officials said the number of unemployed people in South Carolina went down by more than 10,000 over the last month, while the number of employed people increased by more than 6,000.

      The biggest job gains came in government, hospitality and educational and health services, which posted a combined growth of 4,200 positions.

      "Today's great news is another testament to our people, our state, and the hard work that has made progress like this possible," said Gov. Nikki Haley. "The fact that people and companies want to work and grow in South Carolina is no accident - it's what happens when you combine a dedicated workforce with a strong business environment - and that is a real reason to celebrate."

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      Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

      WCIV contributed to this report.

      Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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