South Carolina Sees Lowest Initial Claims for Unemployment Since Pandemic Began

Staff Report

Friday, August 28th, 2020

Initial Claims: For claim week ending August 22, 2020, the number of South Carolinians who filed their initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits is 5,524, a decrease of 1,731 initial claims from the week prior. This brings the initial claims total to 725,228 received since mid-March.

“We are happy to report the sharp decrease in initial claims filed last week. The 5,524 initial claims filed is the lowest since the pandemic began in the middle of March.

“But as mentioned in last week’s initial claims release, there is more value in focusing on the larger data picture over a month’s time than there is in the week-to-week micro changes that are a normal part of the initial claims trend. This data fluctuates even in non-pandemic times. So, while we are pleased to see the numbers trend back down this week, it’s the month-over-month data that is more meaningful and impactful,” states executive director Dan Ellzey.

“If we look at the data from claim weeks ending July 4 - July 25, the total is 61,931 initial claims filed. Reviewing the last four weeks of data (claim week ending August 1 – August 22) the total number of initial claims filed was 27,609, a very significant decrease and a better indication of individuals returning to work,” continues Ellzey.

“We know there are still many people looking to regain employment and financial stability. The SC Works centers throughout the state have free resources, including in-person and virtual services. Explore weekly online webinars, get a resume revamp, practice your interview skills, search the state’s largest job posting website, SC Works Online Services (SCWOS), and consider upskilling and training opportunities that may be provided to you at no charge. You can also take advantage of the new drive-thru, walk-thru, and virtual job fairs being offered in a health conscious manner throughout the state. Please be encouraged that help is available, all you need to do is reach out,” concluded Ellzey.

Agency Responsiveness:

 From March 15, 2020 to August 25, 2020, the agency has paid more than $3.87 billion in a combination of South Carolina UI benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (for the self-employed and others), the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600 per week) program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (extension of benefits for 13 weeks) program and Extended Benefits (Additional 16 weeks of benefits after PEUC).