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Initial employment claims drop as extended benefits expire

Staff Report //December 17, 2020//

Initial employment claims drop as extended benefits expire

Staff Report //December 17, 2020//

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A week after spiking above 5,000 for the first time in two months, S.C. initial unemployment claims dropped to 3,723 for the week ending Dec. 12 — the last week of extended unemployment benefits in the state.

The 3,723 claims represented a drop of 1,386 from the previous week and brought the state’s total claims filed since March 15 to 792,758, according to data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.

Extended Benefits program claimants found eligible for the week will receive their last payment during the claim week ending Dec. 19. The EB program is ending because of South Carolina’s lower-than-6.5% three-month unemployment rate average.

For the latest week, DEW paid out more than $5.6 million in extended benefits and has paid out $45.4 million in the EB program since March 15.

A pair of federal unemployment programs, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, will expire the claim week ending Dec. 26.  

Claimants in those programs received nearly $18 million in combined benefits for the week ending Dec. 12 and more than $621 million since March 15.

For the week ending Dec. 12, Horry County saw a state-high 434 claims filed, while Greenville County had 359 and Richland County 304. Spartanburg County had 214, Charleston County 174 and Lexington County 161.

Nationally, initial unemployment claims increased by 23,000 from the previous week to 885,000.

Since March 15, DEW has paid out $4.73 billion in a combination of state and federal unemployment benefits. For the week ending Dec. 12, 118,810 claimants received an average of $227.42.

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