Initial S.C. unemployment claims topped 2,000 for the first time since mid-July for the week ending Sept. 11, rising to 2,393.
That represented an increase of 1,128 in first-time claims from the week before and the most claims filed in the state since 2,403 for the week ending July 17.
The jump was fueled by 523 claims filed in Orangeburg County, while Berkeley County saw 197 claims filed. Greenville County saw 151, Dorchester County 125, Richland County 105 and Charleston County 100, according to S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce statistics.
For the week of Sept. 5-11, DEW paid out $4.3 million in a combination of state and federal unemployment benefits. Since March 15, 2020, the agency has paid out more than $6.5 billion, while 924,955 initial claims have been filed since then.
Nationally, initial claims increased by 20,000 from the previous week to 332,000.
In response to a Columbia Regional Business Report question about the jump in Orangeburg County claims, DEW said it cannot provide specific claim breakdowns, as that could potentially identify an employer or its workers. The agency noted that initial claims can be cyclical, and that some employers may file claims for employees who are on a temporary layoff or furlough but not permanently displaced.
The agency did provide a statewide breakdown of the top 10 industries affected by initial claims for the week ending Sept. 11. Leading that list at 26.2%, or 554 claims, was lawn and garden, tractor and home, and lawn and garden equipment manufacturing. Automobile manufacturing saw 288 claims, or 13.6%.