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S.C. sees nearly 2,500 claims in week; unemployment falls

Human Resources
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Almost 2,500 initial unemployment claims were filed in South Carolina for the week ending July 10 as federal unemployment benefit payments began to disappear.

The 2,490 claims filed from July 4-July 10 represented an increase of 317 from the previous week, though the nearly $9.5 million paid to claimants in a combination of state and federal benefits was around $40 million less than the previous week.

S.C’s unemployment rate fell to 4.5% in June from 4.6% in May, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster directed federal program benefits to phase out in the state by the end of June, saying they disincentivized the state’s workforce.

Since March 15, 2020, DEW has paid out $6.5 billion to 910,343 claimants.

For the most recent week, seven S.C. counties saw triple-digit claims, paced by 263 in Greenville County. Richland County saw 192 claims, Spartanburg County 189, Berkeley County 136, Anderson County 128, Pickens County 112 and Horry County 105.

Nationally, initial unemployment claims dropped by 26,000 to 360,000.

Unemployment rose in every S.C. county from May to June, going from 3.8% to 4.6% in Richland County and from 2.7% to 3.5% in Lexington County, according to DEW estimates.

DEW’s seasonally adjusted monthly survey of households estimated the number of South Carolinians working at 2,289,714 in June, an increase of 12,209 people over its May estimate.

Unemployment estimates dropped from May to June to 107,035 people, a decrease of 3,402.

“Employment growth in June continues to demonstrate the state’s recovery and progress,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a news release. “While unemployed individuals dropped by more than 3,400, what is particularly exciting is that the number of people working increased by more than 12,200. That is nearly 9,000 people returning to the workforce from the sidelines.”

The national unemployment rate increased to 5.9% from 5.8%.

South Carolina’s estimated labor force, or people working plus unemployed people looking for work, increased to 2,396,749 from May to June, an increase of 8,807. The survey also reflected an increase of 6,300 nonfarm payroll jobs for the month to 2,118.800.

Industries reporting gains included education and health services and trade, transportation and utilities, which each reported 1,800 new jobs. Financial activities lost 600 jobs, while leisure and hospitality lost 400.

The Charleston/North Charleston metropolitical statistical area added seasonally adjusted, nonfarm 1,800 jobs from May to June, while Greenville/Anderson/Mauldin added 1,100 and Spartanburg 700. The Columbia MSA lost 600 jobs month-to-month.

From June 2020 to June 2021, South Carolina’s economy added 95,900 seasonally adjusted, nonfarm jobs, according to DEW, led by an additional 26,000 in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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