SC records 6th straight weekly drop in first-time unemployment claims

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 9:08 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2021 at 1:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina’s downward trend in first-time unemployment claims reached its sixth straight week, according to the latest data release from employment officials Thursday morning.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said it received 1,633 first-time claims during the week that ended Saturday.

That marks the sixth consecutive drop and the fourth week in a row in which the total claims were below 2,000.

At the height of the employment crisis at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency listed more than 80,000 first-time unemployment claims during a two-week span in March 2020.

Greenville County reported the highest number last week with 168 claims, followed by Richland County’s 132 and Florence County’s 109.

Charleston County had the fourth-highest at 96, and Spartanburg had the fifth-highest at 95.

South Carolina paid out a total of $57.8 million in a combination of state and federal benefits last week.

Since the pandemic began, the state has paid out a total of $6.4 billion in state and federal benefits.

The latest data released Wednesday show the state’s unemployment rate for May at 4.6%, a drop from April’s 5%.

SCDEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey said some 80,000 jobs remain open and ready to be filled as a June 30 deadline to end payment of benefits from federal unemployment programs looms.

“The SC Works system is brimming with opportunity,” Ellzey said Wednesday. “There are workshops, job fairs, hiring events, skills assessments, and direct connections to local employers. They can help you find work like your previous job or they can look at your past experience and help you find new employment that uses your skills and strengths.

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