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Unemployment claims reach new low as FEMA assistance approved

Staff Report //September 3, 2020//

Unemployment claims reach new low as FEMA assistance approved

Staff Report //September 3, 2020//

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Richland, Greenville and Charleston counties counted the highest numbers of unemployment claims in the state. (Photo/Provided)South Carolina reached a new low in weekly unemployment claims filed since mid-March, becoming the state with fifth strongest recovery in terms of weekly claims, according to a recent study.

South Carolinians filed 5,019 initial claims for the week ending Aug. 29. That was 505 fewer claims for unemployment insurance benefits than the week before, according to a news release from the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce. Since mid-March 730,247 claims have been filed and $3.91 billion paid in benefits, pandemic assistance and unemployment compensation.

Counties with the highest numbers of claims last week include Richland County with 467 claims, Greenville County with 462 claims, Charleston County with 346 claims and Spartanburg County with 302 claims.

“As the numbers continue to decline, it’s logically expected that the downward trend week-over-week will become less significant as the economy continues to improve,” Dan Ellzey, executive director of DEW, said in the release.

South Carolina follows West Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Oregon respectively in terms of weekly unemployment recovery, according to a study published by WalletHub. The study compares this week’s number of claims to last week’s numbers, which, for the Palmetto State, was a 32.8% drop. Year-over-year, South Carolina is the 39th in line for unemployment recovery since the beginning of the pandemic with a 1441.2% increase in unemployment claims year-over-year since March.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency also approved South Carolina’s application this week for an additional $300 for claimants who receive at least $100 in state or federal benefits via the Lost Wages Assistance program.

“Information about eligibility and requirements will be updated over the next two to three weeks as the program is implemented into the agency’s system,” Ellzey said in the release.