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Many South Carolinians struggling to find work

Over 90,000 people still need to find work to get South Carolina back to its pre-pandemic employment numbers, officials say.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The latest data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) shows unemployment rates are decreasing and more South Carolinians are getting jobs. 

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

South Carolina’s unemployment rate, based on July data, is 8.6 percent. In June, it was 8.7 percent. 

With a decreased unemployment rate, it's no surprise that July’s release shows a promising trend of people rejoining the workforce," says SCDEW executive director Dan Ellzey. "If we compare the number of employed South Carolinians in April to July, it shows that 152,945 South Carolinians have rejoined the workforce.”

But according to Ellzey, over 90,000 people still need to find work to get South Carolina back to its pre-pandemic employment numbers.

One of those people is MaKisha Pickett. She’s been searching for a job since she was laid off by Goodwill in April.

RELATED: 1.1 million Americans seek unemployment aid as layoffs remain high

"I’ve applied, like, every day on Indeed. I have texts coming to my phone. I have several jobs every day that I’m applying for," Pickett says.

Pickett says she hasn’t received any calls. She says her previous employer has several positions open, but she can’t get in touch with anyone.

"I was a cashier there first, and then I was a pricer. And basically, these are the same positions I’m seeing openings for on Indeed. I’ve applied to each one of them but haven’t heard back."

Pickett says things have been really hard since the weekly 600 dollars in federal pandemic unemployment relief expired at the end of July.

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"I’ve just been receiving $131 [a week]. And, like, it’s really getting hectic because my lease is just about up," she says. "I’ve been trying to move. My rent is basically $617 a month, and I have utilities, and it’s getting harder for us out here with no assistance."

With only 131 dollars a week in unemployment benefits and no job offers, Pickett says she may have to leave South Carolina.

"Right now, I have no options," she says. "I’m from Charlotte, and I moved out here eight months ago and I was able to get a job at the Goodwill when I moved out here. And Charlotte will probably be my only choice – to move back home. And the job search there hasn’t really been going well neither."

Grey Parks with Employment Services at SCDEW says if you’re like Pickett and not getting responses from employers, reach out to a local SC Works Center. 

Mondays are our highest call volume days, which can result in longer... wait times. If your question can wait, you will find a significant drop in the wait time later in the week. To respond to the call demand we have extended the call center hours on Monday and Tuesday until 8 pm.

“Not only can our talented staff members review your resume, they can offer tips on improving your resume," Parks says. "Our centers are offering virtual workshops weekly, which can range from how to improve your interviewing skills to informational sessions about our services to specific careers in an industry.”

All the mentioned SC Works services are free. Learn more by clicking here.