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Unemployment claims drop by nearly 5,000 in week

Staff Report //July 23, 2020//

Unemployment claims drop by nearly 5,000 in week

Staff Report //July 23, 2020//

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With an extended federal unemployment benefit set to expire on Saturday, initial unemployment claims in S.C. dropped by nearly 5,000 for the week ending July 18.

The 14,346 people filing initial claims was a decrease of 4,983 from the previous week and is the lowest total since the pre-pandemic week of March 14, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce executive director Dan Ellzey said in a news release today.

“The latest initial claims data is evidence of a strong South Carolina economy,” Ellzey said. “This week marks a more significant decrease than we have noted in the last six weeks of initial claims data.”

In the last 18 weeks, 685,425 initial claims have been filed, and DEW has  paid more than $3.37 billion in a combination of state and federal benefits, the agency said.

One of those federal programs, the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, expires in South Carolina on Saturday. The program provided eligible claimants an additional $600 per week.

“There is, however, congressional activity involving an extension or amendment of the current law,” Ellzey said. “If additional funding is included in the new legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor will have to provide guidance to states, and then it will become the states’ responsibility to implement the program. The complexity of changes will dictate the timeline of implementation, which means there could be a lapse before the new law can be executed and additional payments are distributed.

“If there is a lapse, claimants will continue to receive their weekly benefit amount for each week they are found eligible for benefits, and, of course, if new legislation allows, for a back date of pay.”

On Wednesday, DEW announced an additional six weeks of state benefits for eligible residents.

For the week ending July 18, Greenville County saw 1,353 claims filed, while Richland County saw 1,141. Charleston County had 993, Spartanburg County 814, Horry County 759, Berkeley County 706 and Lexington County 701.