More than 1,400 in Lexington County file new jobless claims

This map, released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, shows the county-by-county breakdown of how many workers filed first-time unemployment claims last week.

More than 1,400 people in Lexington County filed for unemployment last week as businesses have closed and laid off workers during the ongoing coronavirus-inspired economic downturn.

The latest numbers from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce were released Thursday morning. The data shows that statewide there were 31,054 first-time unemployment filings, an increase of approximately 1,600 percent from the previous week’s count of 1,996 first-time filers.

Those numbers reflect 31,054 individuals who both live and work in the state of South Carolina. Another 772 people who live in South Carolina but work in another state filed for unemployment insurance last week. That number represents an increase of approximately 800 percent from the previous week’s count of 97 first-time filers who cross state lines to work.

The record volume of online filings and telephone calls has the Department of Employment and Workforce assessing its technology to handle the increased workload. The unemployment insurance claims process is 100 percent online; there is no “in-person” process, the department said in a release.

“We’ve never experienced this,” Jamie Suber, the workforce agency’s Chief Administrative Officer, said of the record-level filings and calls. “We’re working closely with our computer vendor to make sure that our system can continue to stabilize while we have such a heavy load during this critical period of time for individuals across the state.”

Mr. Suber asked those seeking unemployment insurance to exercise patience through the filing process. “Please be patient with us,” he said. “We’re here to help. Our staff is committed to providing support for individuals that are trying to get assistance.”

The department’s portal for filing claims can be found at www.dew.sc.gov.