COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Despite a slow drop in the unemployment rate over the past few months, South Carolina says the number of people who filed their first unemployment claims rose for the fifth straight week.
For the week ending Saturday, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce recorded 5,045 initial unemployment claims. That’s an increase of 76 over the 4,969 reported for the previous week.
It’s the first time the state recorded more than 5,000 new claims since the week ending March 6.
The Tri-County area accounted for 891 of those applications, with 378 filed in Berkeley County, 290 in Charleston County and 223 in Dorchester County.
Greenville County had the highest number last week with 445 cases and Richland County had the second-highest with 409 cases.
Spartanburg County was in fourth place (behind Berkeley County) with 369 new claims, and Horry County had the fifth-highest number of cases at 329.
Last week, the state paid out a total of $67.2 million in a combination of state and federal unemployment benefits.
Since the pandemic began on March 15, 2020, the state has paid out more than $5.8 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in February, the most recent month for which such data has been released. SCDEW listed the adjusted unemployment rate for January at 5.3% in January, a drop from 5.6% in December.
It was roughly one year ago when the state reported its highest single week of claims since the pandemic began. For the week ending April 11, 2020, SCDEW reported receiving 87,686 first-time unemployment claims.