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Georgia, U.S. fare better than South Carolina in jobless stats

Continued unemployment claims decrease in Tennessee.
Continued unemployment claims decrease in Tennessee.(MGN)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 10:28 AM EDT
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Georgia and the nation as a whole are seeing improvements in their jobless numbers, but South Carolina’s progress is less impressive as the economy struggles to recover from the long coronavirus-fueled shutdown.

But even with the improvements, unemployment rates remain at or near all-time highs.

Here’s a look at the latest statistics, which were released Thursday:

In Georgia

Georgia saw a week-over-week decline of more than 8,200 first-time unemployment claims last week, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

The agency has paid more than $7.5 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits to claimants across the state over the course of 15 weeks. The payments include regular state unemployment insurance, federal Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. 

The state agency has issued payments to 91% of claimants who have requested payment. 

Weekly regular initial claims totaled 117,485, down 8,240 over the week ending June 27. Of the weekly total, 68,594 (59%) were employer-filed claims. Initial claims have been trending down for the past nine weeks.  Over the past 15 weeks, 2,843,219 regular unemployment insurance initial claims have been processed.  

From the week ending March 21 through June 27, the sectors with the most regular unemployment initial claims processed included:

  • Accommodation and food services with 702,127 unemployment claims.
  • Health care and social assistance with 338,505.
  • Retail trade with 319,225.
  • Administrative and support services with 239,989.
  • Manufacturing with 218,489.  

Payments last week totaled $142,249,141 in regular weekly state unemployment benefits. Since March 21, more than $1.8 billion has been paid in regular state unemployment benefits. 

In South Carolina

South Carolina’s first-time unemployment claims decreased only slightly last week.

The state Department of Employment and Workforce said 16,959 people filed their initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits last week, a decrease of 139 initial claims from the week before. This brings the initial claims total to 635,688 received since

mid-March.

“While the number of people seeking first time unemployment assistance fell, the state is not seeing the movement week-over-week for which we hoped,” said Dan Ellzey, executive director of the agency.

There are many “questions and unknowns as to what the future will hold, how long this economic stall will go on and what the true magnitude of the impact will truly be,” he said.

He said that when the pandemic initially caused the economic shutdown in March, job cuts were highly concentrated in the restaurant, travel, hospitality and retail industries. While those industries are still feeling residual impact, the effect is continuing to spread to other sectors like professional services, manufacturing and health care, he said.

South Carolina stats by county:

South Carolina unemployment claims for the claim week of June 27, 2020
South Carolina unemployment claims for the claim week of June 27, 2020(WRDW)

From March 15 to June 30, the agency has paid more than $2.72 billion in a combination of South Carolina unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (for the self-employed and others), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation ($600 per week) and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (extension of benefits for 13 weeks) program.

The state this week launched a program that offers up to an additional 10 weeks of benefits after a claimant exhausts their Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Across the U.S.

At the national level, meanwhile, officials reported that U.S. employers added a substantial 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, as the job market improved for a second straight month.

The nation, however remains far short of regaining the colossal losses it suffered this spring.

The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession, according to the Labor Department's latest jobs report.

And with confirmed coronavirus cases spiking across the Sun Belt states, a range of evidence suggests that a job market recovery may be stalling. In those states and elsewhere, some restaurants, bars and other retailers that had reopened are being forced to close again.

Thursday’s jobs report is based on data gathered in the second week of June, which helps explain why the figures reflect an improving trend. Last week’s plateau in work shifts will instead affect the July jobs figures, to be released in early August.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and The Associated Press

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