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Unemployment claims rise as 7,255 people filed their initial claim last week

Number of claims increased by over 1,300 from the week before
Credit: wltx

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Employment and Work Force (SCDEW) released the initial claims data for the week of August 9 – August 15, and it shows an increase in the number of people filing for unemployment. 

In the claim week ending August 15, 7,255 people filed their initial claim for unemployment insurance (UI) in SC. This is an increase of 1,334 initial claims from the week prior. 

In the last 22 weeks, the total number of initial claims has risen to 719,704 in South Carolina. The agency has paid more than $3.81 billion in a combination of state unemployment benefits and money approved through coronavirus relief funds.

“Although this week’s initial claims data exhibited an uptick, fluctuation of claims data is common. Our teams have reviewed the available information and there is no significant singular event that can account for the increase. As we continue an overall downward trend in the numbers, it might present a more accurate picture to begin to look at initial claims data month-over-month rather than slight changes in week-over-week numbers. For instance, the four-week period from claim week ending June 27 to claim week ending July 18 saw 67,248 initial claims; however the most recent four-week period from claim week ending July 25 to claim week ending August 15 saw 34,279 initial claims – nearly half of the number for the prior month’s time,” states executive director Dan Ellzey.

Credit: SC DEW

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“Our agency is continuing to look for additional ways we can provide resources and assistance to claimants through the claims process. Our dedicated call center staff are working extended hours on Monday and Tuesday to help on the highest call volume days and we have launched a brand new claim status tracker within the MyBenefits portal that allows claimants to see their status in real time. Claimants can find this claim tracker by logging into their portal and selecting the Claim Status tab at the top of their screen.  This is just one additional way we are continuously looking for ways to improve our processes to help those looking to us for answers,” concludes Ellzey.  

From March 15, 2020 to August 18, 2020, the agency has paid more than $3.81 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, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (extension of benefits for 13 weeks) program and Extended Benefits (Additional 16 weeks of benefits after PEUC).

Call center hours (1-866-831-1724) Monday and Tuesday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. - noon.