In the final week of federal unemployment benefits programs in South Carolina, the state saw 1,672 initial unemployment claims filed, with 147 of those filed in Richland County.
Greenville County saw a state-high 153 claims, while Charleston County had 131, according to data from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
In the previous week, 1,633 initial claims were filed.
Since March 15, 2020, South Carolina has seen 905,680 initial unemployment claims filed, and DEW has paid out nearly $6.5 billion in a combination of state and federal benefits. For the week ending June 26, the agency paid out $53.8 million in a combination of benefits, including $31 million in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program benefits.
That program, with an original weekly benefit of $600 per week reduced to $300 after its August 2020 extension, is one of several federal programs ending in South Carolina and 24 other states before its federal expiration date of Sept. 6. Other federal programs include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which covers freelancers, independent contractors and gig workers, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which extends 24 additional weeks of unemployment insurance to claimants who have exhausted their benefits.
For the week of June 21-26, DEW paid out $13 million in PECU benefits and $4.6 million in PUA benefits.
Since March 15, 2020, DEW has paid out $3.7 billion to FPUC claimants, $679 million to PEUC claimants and $542 million to PUA claimants.
National initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 26 dropped by 51,000 to 364,000.
In May, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster directed DEW to end federal unemployment benefits, saying the programs had “turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace.”
South Carolina’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.6% in May from 5% in April.