Weekly Unemployment Claims Rise in S.C. for First Time in Two Months

Staff Report

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Initial Claims: For claim week ending June 6, 2020, the number of South Carolinians who filed their initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits is 22,734, an increase of 3,748 initial claims from the week prior. This brings the initial claims total to 582,265 received since mid-March.

“Although we were hoping for the eighth week in reported decreases in South Carolina, that is not the case for the claim week of week of May 31 – June 6, 2020,” said Dan Ellzey, Executive Director, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

“The above tables indicate the top 10 industries with the highest number of initial claims being filed for both claim weeks. While the restaurant and tourism industry continues to come back to life, it is still experiencing high unemployment numbers. A few other examples of why we may be experiencing higher initial claims numbers could be contributed to the following reasons:

  • This is the third year we have noticed an uptick in initial claims being filed the week after Memorial Day. The specifics of this 3-year trend are unclear, but worth mentioning.

  • Manufacturers, which are represented in four of the industry sectors above, are still dealing with supply chain constraints and potential reduced demand overall; a trickle-down effect experienced by this industry as opposed to the immediate shut down of leisure and hospitality businesses at the onset of COVID-19.

  • Temporary staffing agencies experienced large layoffs, in part due to their connection to manufacturing and healthcare – sectors that are both still experiencing layoffs.

    Our agency will continue to support those who have lost their job while helping connect individuals with workforce opportunities in their area. Our employees are dedicated to this mission,” Ellzey concluded.

    Agency Responsiveness:

    From March 15, 2020 to June 9, 2020, the agency has paid more than $2.1 billion in a combination of South Carolina UI benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (for the self-employed and others), the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600 per week) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (extension of benefits for 13 weeks) program.

Our call center is maintaining extended hours this week. Please note that Monday and Tuesday are our highest call volume days. We notice a decrease in incoming calls starting Wednesday and Saturdays are our lowest call volume days. If you need assistance we encourage you to call on an off peak day.