Georgia, South Carolina outperform nation in jobs, figures show

The coronavirus pandemic has caused unemployment to skyrocket.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused unemployment to skyrocket.(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 7:48 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The two-state region continues to outpace the nation as a whole in jobs during the coronavirus recession, with South Carolina even getting national notoriety in a new study.

Here’s a look at the latest numbers:

South Carolina

South Carolina is ranked No. 2 in a new WalletHub study, “States Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims are Recovering the Quickest.”

According to WalletHub, South Carolina saw a 54.62% increase in unemployment claims from Sept. 9, 2019, to Sept. 7, 2020, showing the second quickest recovery in the U.S.

The study also showed the Palmetto State having 751,869 unemployment claims filed between March 16 and Sept. 7, compared to 55,815 filed between March 18 and Sept. 9 of 2019.

The results of the study came as South Carolina’s Department of Employment and Workforce said Thursday that the payout of state and federal unemployment benefits surpassed the $4 billion mark since the pandemic began.

That total includes regular state unemployment benefits and federal supplements.

Department spokesperson Heather Biance said 4,283 people filed their initial claim for unemployment insurance in the week ending this past Saturday, a drop of 830 over the previous week.

In the past 26 weeks, the total number of initial claims rose to 739,643 in the state.

Department Executive Director Dan Ellzey said that while the weekly claims are still double what they had been pre-COVID-19, the drop in new claims indicates the state continues to bounce back.


The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that for August, the state’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, while the national unemployment rate stood at 8.4 percent.

Along with outpacing the national rate, Georgia recorded a decrease of 2 percentage points since July and a seven-point drop since the beginning of the pandemic. The state reported a 12.6 percent unemployment rate in April and has seen a steady decrease since the initial surge.

In August, initial unemployment claims were down by 50 percent (242,458) since July to reach 247,623. Since April, new initial claims have dropped over 1.1 million.

For the month, the number of employed was up 20,687 to reach a total of 4,633,847. Additionally, the number of employed was up by 353,923 since April. The number of jobs were up 21,700 in August to reach a total of 4,433,000.

The Georgia Department of Labor has paid more than $13.5 billion in state and federal benefits since the beginning of the pandemic in March of this year. Last week, the agency issued $485 million in benefits which include regular unemployment and federally funded supplements.

The nation as a whole

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 860,000, a historically high number of people.

The Labor Department said Thursday that U.S. jobless claims fell by 33,000 from the previous week and that 12.6 million are collecting traditional unemployment benefits, compared with just 1.7 million a year ago.

The pandemic has delivered a colossal shock to the economy. Until the pandemic upended the operations of American companies, from factories to family diners, weekly jobless aid applications had never exceeded 700,000 in the U.S. They’ve topped 700,000 for 26 consecutive weeks.

The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, collapsed at an annual rate of 31.7% from April through June, by far the worst three months on record, as millions of jobs disappeared.

The economy and job market have recovered somewhat from the initial shock. Employers added 10.6 million jobs from May through August, but that’s still less than half the jobs lost in March and April.

The Associated Press contributed to this report