What are some of the barriers to employment for 2-state residents?

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 5:23 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - There are more than 100,000 jobs open across South Carolina right now.

But new data released Friday reveals nearly half of South Carolinians who are old enough and eligible to work are not employed or actively looking for a job.

The findings were revealed in a survey of people who were employed in South Carolina in 2019, who filed for unemployed in 2020 and then were not present in the Department of Employment and Workforce’s wage data in 2021.


About a quarter of the 6,000 people who responded said they’re not currently working but could.

They named several barriers they said are keeping them from getting a job.

Leading the way are low pay, gaps in employment history, optimal hours not being available, lack of transportation and disabilities.

Women also cited lack of child care or needing to stay with their children among their top reasons – while many men said a criminal record was holding them back.

When it comes to what would entice them to return to work, better pay, flexible working conditions and hours, and a closer location to home were far and away the top responses.

A statewide task force is trying to figure out how to increase South Carolina’s labor force participation – and says these findings will be critical to guiding its work and recommendations.

A low labor participation rate is “a deeply concerning issue, and we have to bring a lot of people to the table to figure out how to address it,” said Bryan Grady of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

Grady says the task force will hold briefings in January and February.

He says a wide array of people is needed from both the public and private sectors in moving toward the policy development and recommendation phase of their work.