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South Carolinians file 46,747 unemployment claims in week

Staff Report //May 7, 2020//

South Carolinians file 46,747 unemployment claims in week

Staff Report //May 7, 2020//

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For the week ending May 2, 46,747 South Carolinians filed unemployment claims, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

That represented a decrease of 18,412 claims from the previous week, DEW said. In the last seven weeks, the agency has received 453,636 claims, and it has paid more than $831 million in a combination of state benefits and federal unemployment funds.

S.C. unemployment claims by county for the week ending May 2. (Image/Provided)“Our agency is encouraged to report the third straight weekly decline in the number of Unemployment Insurance initial claims. We understand, however, that this good news is tempered by the record high number of claims overall,” said Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a Thursday news release. “During the heart of the 2008-2009 Great Recession, laid-off employees were filing an average of 10,000 new claims per week. While the number of new claims we reported today is a great improvement over the numbers three weeks ago, it is still well over four times higher than the number of initial weekly claims being filed during the Great Recession.”

Greenville County had 5,000 unemployment claims, highest in the state, for the week ending May 2, while Horry County had 4,318. Charleston County had 4,273, Richland County 3,763, Spartanburg County 3,266 and Lexington County 2,368.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 14.7% in April, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (.pdf). That rate, and the 10.3% increase from March, represented the highest rate and the highest month-over-month increase since the bureau began collecting data in 1948.

The number of unemployed people in the U.S. climbed from 15.9 million to 23.1 million in April.

Leisure and hospitality was the hardest-hit job sector, with a decrease of 7.7 million jobs. 

A new survey releasted today by the Associated General Contractors of America and construction technology firm Procore found that the construction industry lost 975,000 jobs in April. The survey of more than 800 construction firms was broken down by region and showed 44% of 225 construction firms in the South (.pdf) had halted work on a project underway in April, while 20% had canceled a project scheduled to start last month. 

Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, said the national decline represented nearly 13% of the industry's employment and was the worst one-month drop ever.