Thousands of new applicants continued to apply for unemployment benefits in South Carolina last week as the state’s economy continues to address one of the most turbulent years in decades.
Approximately 3,583 people submitted their first unemployment rate between 13 December and 19 December.
The figure is much lower than the 89,000 people who signed up for unemployment benefits in the second week of April, during the first increase in the coronavirus pandemic.
But the broader unemployment rate shows that South Carolina is still dealing with an unemployment crisis that far exceeds anything the state has dealt with in recent years.
The individuals who applied for benefits last week will join more than 173,000 other South Carolina people who continued to apply for help after a job loss earlier this year.
Most of these people rely on federal unemployment benefits, which will expire on December 26. Their only hope of continuing to raise unemployment benefits is a new stimulus package approved by Congress this week.
Federal law would extend two federal unemployment programs called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. The PUA provided benefits to entrepreneurs, self-employed people and so-called gig workers for the first time, and the PEUC provided benefits to people who had already used their 20 weeks of state unemployment entitlement.
President Donald Trump has not yet signed the stimulus bill, but even if he does, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce has said it could take four to six weeks to implement the new legislation in South Carolina.
This means that tens of thousands of people are likely to go without income for several weeks in January and February.
Reach Andrew Brown at 843-708-1830 or follow him on Twitter @andy_ed_brown.