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SC reports drop in weekly initial unemployment claims

For the week ending Sunday, the state reported 1,314 first-time unemployment claims, just 49...
For the week ending Sunday, the state reported 1,314 first-time unemployment claims, just 49 higher than the current record low of 1,265 set for the week ending Sept. 4.(AP)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:14 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:21 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina employment officials reported one of the lowest weekly totals of initial unemployment claims received since the pandemic began.

For the week ending Sunday, the state reported 1,314 first-time unemployment claims, just 49 higher than the current record low of 1,265 set for the week ending Sept. 4.

Greenville County had the most claims at 182, followed by Richland County’s 98.

In the Tri-County, Charleston County listed 48, while Berkeley County listed 41 and Dorchester County reported 38 claims. No other Lowcountry County had more than 20 first-time claims.

For the week ending Saturday, the state paid out $4.16 million in unemployment benefits. Since the pandemic began, the state has paid out nearly $6.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits.

The latest data for the state showed a 4.2% unemployment rate in August, down one-tenth of a percentage point from July.

September’s unemployment rate was expected within days.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit Wednesday against Gov. Henry McMaster over his early exit from federal unemployment programs providing extra money to residents during the pandemic.

The suit, filed by four jobless South Carolinians, alleged they live in the state and are eligible for one or more of the Pandemic Unemployment Benefits established by the CARES Act. The residents said they were still struggling to find work and wanted a judge to force McMaster to rejoin the federal programs.

“Rather than working to incentivize South Carolinians to accept one of the thousands of available jobs in our state, these federal benefits presented a clear danger to the health of our state’s businesses by keeping people home,” McMaster said in a statement following the court decision. “Now, we will continue our tireless work to match qualified South Carolinians with available jobs around our state.”

Governor’s office spokesman Brian Symmes said more than 25,000 more South Carolinians are working now than in May, the month McMaster announced he would ask state employment officials to opt-out of the federal benefit programs in a move he said was designed to get more people back to work.

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