SC agency, gov continue standoff over unemployment

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

December 30, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina employment officials and the governor remain in a perplexing standoff that could imperil unemployment benefits for 77,000 jobless residents.

The money runs out Thursday unless Gov. Mark Sanford requests a $146 million federal loan. But Sanford has refused to sign such a request until the agency that calculates unemployment figures agrees to demands, including an audit by a state watchdog.

The Employment Security Commission has agreed to be audited by the U.S. Labor Department. And commission chief Ted Halley said Tuesday that another audit desired by Sanford is fine.

A spokesman for the governor says he wants that OK in writing before a federal loan is requested.

Last month, South Carolina reported the nation's third-worst unemployment rate at 8.4 percent.

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