By Christina Leee Knauss
The number of people filing initial unemployment claims in South Carolina dipped dramatically during Thanksgiving week, according to data released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
During the week of Nov. 21-27, 776 people statewide filed new claims for unemployment, down from more than 1,200 who filed the previous week.
The Thanksgiving holiday was likely responsible for most of the drop, according to Erica Von Nessen, an economist with DEW. People in general are less likely to spend time filing new claims during a time when they are also gathering with friends and family for holiday celebrations, she said. A similar drop in new filings is also expected over the Christmas holiday.
Other factors that are likely contributing to the drop include a continued aggressive hiring market around the state, as well as some people who had been on unemployment for a long time during the pandemic but are no longer eligible for benefits.
Nationwide, the number of new unemployment claims rose by 28,000 to 220,000 over the Thanksgiving week, and a national jobs report released Dec. 3 was the weakest in a year, with just 210,000 new jobs added in November.
“We have been seeing historically low unemployment claims level per week here in South Carolina, and that is likely to continue with hiring because businesses are desperate to maintain their labor pools right now,” Von Nessen said.
New unemployment claims around the state are expected to climb slightly in the weeks after Thanksgiving and also to increase slightly after Christmas, when some people will experience layoffs from seasonal jobs.
For the week ending Nov. 27, Horry County saw 80 initial claims, while Greenville County had 69. Richland County saw 60, while both Spartanburg and Charleston counties had 42.