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DEW cuts Unemployment Insurance tax rate for second straight year

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 3, 2015

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce plans to cut the Unemployment Insurance tax rate by an average reduction of 17.1% over last year’s rate, a move which will save businesses more than $69 million.

This marks the second consecutive year the agency has cut the rate, saving state businesses more than $151 million over that period, it said.

“When we save businesses money, we give them cash flow, and they can expand, putting more of our people to work – that’s why this announcement is so important,” Gov. Nikki Haley said. “South Carolina is on the move: we've seen record lows in unemployment and more people working than ever before, and, as we continue to invest in education and workforce development, we'll continue to celebrate.”

A number of factors contributed to the rate reductions, DEW said. Those include an improving economy, more than 2 million South Carolinians being employed, the organization lowering benefit payouts and legislative and DEW policy changes that restrict benefits to those who lost a job through no fault of their own.

DEW paid off a nearly $1 billion federal loan in June which was used to pay state unemployment insurance benefits during the economic downturn, and the department’s payments on the loan over the last four years led to returning the Trust Fund to solvency. That saved business more than $12 million in interest payments, the department said.

“The economy is improving and more South Carolinians are working than any time in our state’s history,” executive director Cheryl Stanton said. “This, coupled with paying off the federal loan, has allowed us to reduce the tax burden on businesses while rebuilding the Trust Fund to a level that will sustain a recession.

“Our gratitude goes out to the business community and workforce development training partners who have worked hard to create jobs and provide the skilled workers to fill them.”

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