New unemployment claims in the state fell below 10,000 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, with 8,909 South Carolinians applying for jobless benefits the week ending Aug. 1, according to the most recent data available from the state Department of Employment and Workforce.
“People are reentering the workplace as employers find new ways to provide innovative and safe working conditions,” Dan Ellzey, DEW executive director, said in a statement.The number of unemployment claims for the week ending Aug. 1 represented a 27% decrease in claims, or 3,285, from the week prior, according to DEW. The state’s unemployment rate is currently at 8.7%.
Since March 15, the agency has received more than 706,500 jobless claims and paid more than $3.68 billion in federal and state unemployment assistance. That includes the $600 per week payments approved by Congress as part of the CARES Act at the outset of the outbreak. Those benefits have since expired, and Congress has been unable to agree on an extension.
While President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 6 extending additional unemployment payments of up to $400 a week, it’s unclear when or if those benefits will be issued.
DEW officials said they’re aware of Trump’s memorandum and are awaiting guidance from federal authorities.
Ellzey has said it could take awhile to implement a different federal program depending on the complexity of the changes.
“It is just not a matter of stopping and then restarting the program,” he said.
Ellzey said there are currently 45,000 South Carolina jobs posted online. People can take advantage of the state’s largest job database by logging into jobs.sc.works.org, posting a resume and searching for work.
“With the latest restrictions removed last week on theaters, sports venues and concerts, the hope in the coming weeks is this will give a needed boost to many of our state’s desirable attractions and the talented hospitality-driven employees who work there,” Ellzey said in a statement.