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      Unemployment rate drops in SC for ninth straight month

      South Carolina's unemployment rate has dropped for a ninth straight month.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina's unemployment rate has dropped for a ninth straight month.

      The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday the state's jobless rate was 8.8 percent in April, down from 8.9 percent the month before.

      â??The decline in the stateâ??s unemployment rate coupled with the number of jobs announcements in recent months show positive signs of growth and stability for South Carolinaâ??s economy.â?? said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner.

      The state added 13,500 jobs last month, with most coming in the leisure and hospitality industries. The only sector to see a decrease in jobs was government.

      â??Itâ??s a great day in South Carolina, and we celebrate the ninth month in a row that our unemployment rate has dropped. While this is great news, weâ??re going keep working hard make our state the most competitive in the country for business development and bring more jobs for our people," said Gov. Nikki Haley.

      South Carolina's unemployment rate peaked in January 2010 at 12.5 percent, and the 8.8 percent rate in April was the lowest in more than three years. The jobless rate in the state was 9.8 percent in April 2011.

      Marion County maintained the state's highest unemployment rate at 16.8 percent, while Greenville County had the lowest rate at 7 percent.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)