Columbia, SC – December 2023 Jobs Report – Stable Growth Amidst National Fluctuations

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December 2023 brought relatively stable job market conditions to Columbia, SC, contrasting with national trends of slight unemployment rate increases. While nonfarm payroll employment remained unchanged, job openings continued to exceed the number of unemployed individuals, indicating a competitive hiring landscape.


  • Unemployment rate: Held steady at 4.0%, lower than the national average of 3.7% but higher than December 2022’s 3.8% in Columbia.
  • Job openings: Maintained a healthy ratio of 1.4 openings per unemployed worker, signaling employer demand for talent.
  • Nonfarm payroll employment: Remained flat compared to November 2023, but grew by 1.6% year-over-year.

Industry and Occupation Growth:

  • Leisure and hospitality: Led the pack with 5.1% year-over-year growth, adding 4,200 jobs, particularly in food services and accommodation.
  • Trade, transportation, and utilities: Increased by 2.4%, creating 3,600 new positions, primarily in retail trade and transportation and warehousing.
  • Professional and business services: Expanded by 1.9%, generating 2,800 jobs, mainly in administrative and support services and professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • Construction: Added 1.7%, translating to 1,300 new jobs, driven by residential construction activity.

Industry and Occupation Shrinkage:

  • Information: Witnessed a slight decline of 0.5%, losing 100 jobs, primarily in telecommunications and broadcasting.
  • Financial activities: Decreased by 0.2%, shedding 100 jobs, concentrated in insurance and real estate.
  • Manufacturing: Remained flat compared to November 2023, but lost 1.9% of jobs year-over-year, totaling 2,800 positions.

Comparison to Last Year:

  • Overall nonfarm payroll employment grew by 1.6% compared to December 2022, outpacing the national average of 1.4%.
  • Unemployment rate remained lower than the national average by 0.3% in both December 2023 and 2022.

Comparison to Previous Month:

  • Nonfarm payroll employment remained almost unchanged from November 2023.
  • Unemployment rate ticked down slightly from 4.1% in November.

Future Outlook:

While economic forecasts anticipate a potential recession in the first half of 2024, South Carolina’s job market is projected to remain resilient due to its diverse economy and growing sectors like tourism and manufacturing.

10 Growing Occupations in Columbia, SC:

  1. Registered Nurses
  2. Customer Service Representatives
  3. Software Developers and Applications
  4. Truck Drivers
  5. Retail Salespersons
  6. Personal Care Aides
  7. Marketing Specialists
  8. Home Health Aides
  9. Elementary School Teachers
  10. Accountants and Auditors

10 Companies Hiring Now in Columbia, SC:

  1. Prisma Health
  2. Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
  3. University of South Carolina
  4. Boeing
  5. Michelin
  6. Dominion Energy
  7. Fort Jackson
  8. ZF Group
  9. Milliken
  10. Sonoco