For the Third Straight Week, Unemployment Claims Drop in South Carolina

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Initial Claims: For claim week ending May 2, 2020, the number of South Carolinians who filed their initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits is 46,747, a decrease of 18,412 initial claims from the week prior. This means that there were 46,747 individuals who both live and work in the state of South Carolina who filed an initial claim during the claim week, April 26, 2020 – May 2, 2020.

“Our agency is encouraged to report the third straight weekly decline in the number of Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims. We understand, however, that this good news is tempered by the record high number of claims overall,” said Dan Ellzey, Executive Director, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

“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,” Ellzey continued.

“I am excited to see employers begin to reopen and bring South Carolinians back to work. Restarting the economy and engaging the workforce is important in helping people move from the temporary federal funding to employment with long-term stability,” Ellzey finished.

Agency Responsiveness:

- From March 15, 2020 to May 5, 2020, the agency has paid more than $831 million in a combination of state UI benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (for the self-employed and others) and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600 per week) program.

- On March 15, the agency had approximately 49 employees working in the call center. They were able to handle the call level at that point. In an attempt to meet current demand, we have added staff to our call centers that now total more than 500 employees.

- The Chatbot feature on the website continues to grow! This is a great resource for finding FAQ type information about the UI process, federal funds provided through the CARES Act, employer filing and more.

- Visit the COVID-19 Resource Hub website or our social media platforms for updated information.