By MEG KINNARDAssociated Press COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's unemployment has risen nearly half a percentage point after three straight months without change, state officials said Monday.The state's jobless rate rose to 5.7 percent last month, the Department of Employment and Workforce said in a news release. That's up from 5.3 percent, which had been South Carolina's unemployment rate since April.The jump was among the largest month-to-month increases in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Two other states Georgia and Wyoming also had jobless rate increases of four-tenths of a percentage point. Tennessee's rate went up by half a percentage point, BLS officials said.Monthly unemployment went up in 30 states, according to federal officials. National unemployment went up slightly in July, from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent.In July, non-farm payrolls fell by 4,600 over the month to a level of 1,928,400 for South Carolina, state officials said. That drop was the third-highest in the country, according to federal statistics. Ohio's overall employment went down by 12,400, and Maryland's dropped by 9,000.Over the last month, jobs in South Carolina's professional and business services and education and health services went down by 5,500. Leisure and hospitality jobs, along with construction jobs, were up by 1,600.Unemployment in July went up in all of South Carolina's 46 counties and was highest in Bamberg County, at 12.1 percent. Lexington and Saluda counties tied for the state's lowest rate, at 5.1 percent.In a news release, DEW executive director Cheryl Stanton downplayed the month-to-month uptick, pointing out that state unemployment is down by about 2 percentage points compared with a year ago.Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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