COLUMBIA, SC - For the past several weeks there has been a steady decline in the number of unemployment claims in South Carolina and the nation. The U.S. Department of Labor is reporting that the number of initial unemployment claims fell for the fourth consecutive week, which marks the lowest level in the past two and a half years.
In South Carolina, figures show that initial applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 2,780 three weeks ago, the third decline in the past four weeks. Records indicate that the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) received 9,007 claims for jobless benefits for the week of Jan. 22-28, more than 1,600 fewer than the 10,623 filed the week before.
The decline continued the week of Feb. 5- Feb. 11 as the DEW received 4,906 claims for jobless benefits, down from 6,227 claims submitted during the prior week.
"The decrease in initial claims is certainly an indication that the state's labor force is headed in the right direction," said John Finan, Executive Director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce. "We still remain cautiously optimistic about the state's economy because as the economy recovers so will the state's workforce," said Finan.
The DEW's Labor Market Information experts suggest that the downward trend in applications indicates that layoffs in the state are dropping steadily, specifically in the Manufacturing industry. According to December's numbers—the most recent available—manufacturing in South Carolina added 200 jobs, and over the past 12 months has shown an increase of 5,000 jobs.