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65,000 South Carolinians filed for unemployment in one week due to virus

SC DEW releases numbers for week of March 22-28, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) released the latest data on the number of South Carolinians who have filed for unemployment insurance since the beginning of the coronavirus, of COVID-19, pandemic.

In the week ending March 28, the advance figures for South Carolina initial claims* was 64,856, an increase of approximately 108.85% from the previous week’s count of 31,054 and a 3,149.3% increase from the week ending March 14, 2020. This means that there were 64,856 individuals who both live and work in the state of South Carolina who filed an initial claim during that week. 

  • Horry County had 9,672 new claims
  • Chalreston County had 7,845
  • Greenville County had 6,556
  • Richland County had 4,684
  • Lexington County had 3,112

RELATED: A record 6.6 million seek US jobless aid as layoffs mount

Important Information to Know About the Unemployment Insurance Process (from SC DEW)

1.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been signed into law, but these benefits are not yet available and the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor for state-specific implementation. For those who have already filed an unemployment insurance claim, please continue to file your weekly claim. For those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers, or requesting an extension of benefits and are not currently filing weekly claims, please continue to visit dew.sc.gov, for additional information and guidance as it becomes available.

2.  Please visit the COVID-19 Resource Hub and social media as DEW will be communicating how this legislation will affect the agency's process.

3. Due to the influx of unemployment claims being filed, the national system known as ICON hub, which all states use to validate social security numbers on claims in real time, is being overwhelmed with validation requests. DEW is required to validate social security numbers to avoid fraud and prevent identity theft. The Department of Labor is aware and is working to expand its database capacity.

4. The unemployment insurance claims process is 100 percent online. You do not have to visit an SC Works center to file for benefits. There is no “in-person” process.

5. Most of the questions the agency is receiving through the call center can be found on dew.sc.gov and the YouTube page SC DEW. Check the site in order to avoid the wait!

*An initial claim is a claim filed by an unemployed individual after a separation from an employer. The claimant requests a determination of basic eligibility for the UI program. When an initial claim is filed with a state, certain programmatic activities take place and these result in activity counts including the count of initial claims. The count of U.S. initial claims for unemployment insurance is a leading economic indicator because it is an indication of emerging labor market conditions in the country. However, these are weekly administrative data which are difficult to seasonally adjust, making the series subject to some volatility.

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