The 3,583 initial unemployment claims filed in South Carolina for the week ending Dec. 19 brought the total number of claims filed since March 15 to 796,341 as the state awaits federal guidance on the possible extension of federal unemployment assistance programs.
Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill Monday night that now awaits President Donald Trump’s signature.
A pair of federal unemployment programs, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, are set to expire the claim week ending Dec. 26. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said in a statement that there will be “a period of time” between those expirations and the availability of any new benefits.
State Extended Benefits program claimants received their last payment during the current claim week. That program is ending because of South Carolina’s lower-than-6.5% three-month unemployment rate average.
November’s unemployment rate edged upward to 4.4% from 4.2% in October.
Nationally, initial unemployment claims filings dropped 89,000 for the week ending Dec. 19 from the previous week to 803,000.
S.C.’s initial claims for the most recent week dropped 140 from the previous week, with Horry County reporting a state-high 424 initial claims and Richland County 315. Greenville County saw 303 claims, Spartanburg County 229, Charleston County 198 and Lexington County 145. DEW paid out $32.8 million to 117,246 claimants in the week, an average of $227.42.
Since March 15, the agency has paid out $4.75 billion in a combination of state and federal benefits, including nearly $47 million in Extended Benefits and a total of $635.6 million in the expiring federal programs.s