Haley: Students, retirees center of high unemployment in SC

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says college graduates, cash-strapped retirees and middle-aged workers dumped from their jobs by the recession are at the heart of the state's nearly-worst-in-the-nation unemployment rate.

Haley said Thursday the labor force has grown with college students needing jobs, retirees who need to work because their savings aren't adequate and people in their mid-50s who don't have the skills needed to get new jobs.

Last month, state Democrats criticized Haley for the state's high unemployment rate. Numbers from July show the state slipped from 10.5 percent unemployment to 10.9 percent.

"If she would spend as much time booking herself on national media talk shows, working for the people of South Carolina, we might see some improvement," said State Senator Brad Hutto, of the governor's frequent appearances on national TV.

Fellow senator John Matthews said the governor is not doing enough to create jobs along the I-95 corridor.

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"The governor remains focused on business recruitment, workforce training, and doing whatever it takes to bring down the unemployment number and put South Carolinians back to work," Haley Spokesman Rob Godfrey replied.

South Carolina's unemployment rate is the third highest in the nation, behind Nevada and California.

The governor says she supports a new program through the state's unemployment agency to provide incentives for jobless workers to get training.

Haley also said Thursday she wants to require drug testing for people who get unemployment benefits. She says she is figuring out details on how that program would work.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)