South Carolina saw a decrease in the number of people filing an initial unemployment claim for the week ending April 18 for the first time in more than a month.
The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said 73,116 people filed unemployment claims for the week ending April 18, a decrease of 14,570 from the week before. That is the first drop in claims since the week ending March 14, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to greatly affect numbers.
In the last five weeks, 341,730 unemployment claims have been received, according to a Thursday news release from DEW. The agency said it has paid more than $351 million in a combination of state benefits and new coronavirus relief funds during that time period.
For the week ending April 18, Greenville County had the most unemployment claims in the state, with 8,894 filed. Horry County had 7,867, Charleston County 6,134 and Spartanburg County 5,457.
Richland County saw 4,898 claims filed and Lexington County 3,481.
“Our agency is heartened to see the first decrease in initial claims after so many weeks,” Jamie Suber, DEW chief of staff, said in the release. “We hope that this will begin to set a downward trend as individuals who have already filed continue to receive their benefits through this crisis and other claimants receive their funds through some of the additional federal programs we are still implementing.
“We know that, as a state, we still have much to accomplish before we begin to feel a sense of normalcy, but our agency is actively responding to the needs of individuals and businesses as we work through this together.”s