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Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey’s Statement
February 2021 Employment Situation
Columbia, SC – “We are continuing to watch the unemployment rate decline in a steady manner, from 5.3% in January 2021 to 5.2% in February 2021. This is encouraging economic news for the state of South Carolina. Our economy is recovering strongly and, in fact, doing better than most of our neighbors and the nation as a whole. Yesterday, we heard a presentation by a Federal Reserve Board Economist comparing the economic recovery of South Carolina, North Carolina and the nation. I am confident that actions taken by our Governor and legislators have put the Palmetto state in position to complete our economic recovery,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director, Dan Ellzey.
“While our economy is recovering, there are some issues. Currently, 125,000 South Carolinians are drawing unemployment benefits each week. At the same time, employers have 87,000 open positions they are trying to fill. Over the past several months, we have communicated on a regular basis with unemployment claimants about job openings and the benefits of a job and medical coverage over unemployment. Now, we see that we will have to do more,” continued Ellzey.
“When the pandemic began, the agency suspended the two weekly work searches, which are required by state regulation to maintain eligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Now a year later, as more and more South Carolinians are returning to work and the unemployment rate is consistently dropping, it is time to reinstate the work search requirement in order to help employers and job seekers connect. We are and will continue to communicate directly with claimants on this upcoming change and have provided video and PDF tutorial resources on our website, social media and on our YouTube page,” continued Ellzey.
“Beginning the week of April 18, 2021, claimants will be required to do two things each week to remain eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. They will need to certify their weekly claim stating the reason they remain unemployed and complete two job searches in the SC Works Online Services (SCWOS) portal. The two weekly work searches are easy to do, on their computer or the SCWOS smartphone app, but it imperative that the work searches are conducted while they are logged into their account to ensure that the SCWOS system confirms with the claimant system that the individual has completed this requirement to remain eligible for benefits. Claimants can download the apps for free and complete their weekly certification (on the SC DEW app) and two work searches (on the SCWOS/SC Works app) in just a few taps,” stated Ellzey.
“As we’ve previously announced, there are 87,000 open positions in South Carolina on the SCWOS portal. We, and our partners at SC Works Centers statewide, are working closely with claimants to connect them with employers who are actively hiring. This is one step closer to full economic recovery in South Carolina, and we are excited to help claimants secure financial stability through meaningful employment,” concluded Ellzey.
1. For a better understanding of how the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics utilizes trained Census Bureau employees to capture critical labor force data each month, you can read the full PDF explanation here: https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.pdf.
2. Work search resources can be found on dew.sc.gov as well as the SC DEW YouTube page. Please find links to some of these resources below.