Several thousand new applicants filed for unemployment insurance in South Carolina last week, while the economy continues to face one of the most turbulent years in decades.
Nearly 3,600 residents filed an initial application for unemployment insurance between December 13 and December 19, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a weekly report on Wednesday.
This is much lower than the 89,000 who applied for unemployment insurance in the second week of April, during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Individuals who applied for benefits last week will join more than 173,000 other South Carolina residents who have received government assistance after a job loss earlier this year.
Most depend on federal benefits that expire on Saturday. His only hope of continuing to collect is a stimulus package that Congress passed this week.
This legislation would extend two benefit programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
The first extends aid to contractors, freelancers and so-called gig workers for the first time. The other helps displaced workers who have spent their 20 weeks of state assistance.
President Donald Trump has yet to sign the stimulus bill, but even if he does, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce said it could take four to six weeks to implement it in South Carolina.
At the national level, the number of Americans seeking benefits fell by 89,000, but remained high at 803,000. Before the virus attacked, applications totaled about 225,000 in a typical week.
“The fact that, after nine months of crisis, the initial claims are still at such a high level is, in absolute terms, bad news,” wrote Joshua Shapiro, chief economist at American consultancy Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc. a note from search. “With the pandemic getting worse again, claims are likely to remain quite high for some time. ”
O Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Andrew Brown at 843-708-1830 or follow him on Twitter @andy_ed_brown.