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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina unemployment dropped slightly in February.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that the state's jobless rate was 8.6 percent last month. That's one-tenth of a percentage point lower than January's rate.

Officials attributed the drop to gains in non-farm jobs, which went up by nearly 18,000 last month. The government sector grew by 8,000 jobs, with officials saying that was because schools ramped up hiring for the spring semester.

Demand was also higher for health care and social services. The leisure and hospitality sectors gained about 4,000 jobs.

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