Businesses: Three easy ways to go green and save time

This Earth Day, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce has a few easy ways for your business to go green and cut down on stacks of mail and paperwork.

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  • Sign up for a free SC Business One Stop (SCBOS) account to file your quarterly Wage and Contribution reports, pay taxes and respond to requests for separation information. Learn more at scbos.sc.gov. You can also check out the free webinars offered to help you see SCBOS features in action here.
  • If your company has recently received a Wage Audit Notice, you can cut down on mail costs by responding electronically through SCBOS’ Internet Response Module for Employers (IRME). Simply logon to your SCBOS account, click “MySCBOS,” choose DEW BPC-Wage Audit Notice and verify your information. You can also have pending Wage Audit Notices sent to you via email to cut down on paperwork. Learn more about IRME here.
  • If you don’t have an account with SCBOS or you usually submit information by paper, you can use a free secure electronic system called the State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES) E-Response. This application allows you to respond to information requests, attach documentation and receive a date-stamped confirmation receipt. Learn more here .

Overpayments Can Have Serious Consequences

Working part-time or odd jobs while receiving unemployment benefits is allowed, and even encouraged, but make sure you report the money you earn each week when filing your weekly claim.

Failing to accurately report this and other requested critical information to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) may result in an overpayment, which can have serious consequences.

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An overpayment occurs when you receive unemployment insurance benefits that you are not eligible for. DEW classifies overpayments of unemployment benefits into two categories: fraudulent overpayments and non-fraudulent overpayments.

Non-fraudulent overpayments happen when you receive benefits you are not entitled to, but receiving those benefits is not because you knowingly gave false information or withheld information.  Though unintentional, non-fraudulent overpayments must be repaid to DEW.

Fraudulent overpayments occur when you receive benefits you are not entitled to because you knowingly provided false information or withheld information. Fraudulent overpayments are a serious offense that can result in criminal prosecution. Fraudulent overpayments must be repaid along with a penalty fee of 25 percent. You are also disqualified from receiving future benefits for between 10 and 52 weeks.  To read more about preventing, reporting and the consequences of fraud, click here.

If you do not repay the overpayment debt once you have been notified of an overpayment, DEW takes many actions to recover the debt including:

You can avoid alternative collection methods by either repaying the debt in full or establishing and maintaining a monthly payment plan.  After receiving a Notice of Overpayment of Benefits, take immediate action by calling the Overpayment Unit at 803.737.2490.

Reporting accurate information and receiving only the money you are qualified to collect prevents potential fraud prosecution and will ultimately ensure the unemployment benefits program’s overall integrity.

For more information on overpayments, visit dew.sc.gov/overpayments.

South Carolina’s Employment Situation March 2014

Unemployment Rate Trend Continues Downward; Employment Hits Highest Level Ever

In March, South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.5 percent from February’s rate of 5.7 percent. The last time the Palmetto State’s rate was at this level was in March 2008. From February to March 2014, the number of unemployed persons declined by 5,077, to a level of 119,058.

The estimated number of employed persons in March was 2,046,002, up 6,560 since February. This is the eighth consecutive monthly increase and marks a state historic employment high. From March 2013 to March 2014, an estimated 32,555 people have found work.

The labor force increased slightly in March, up by 1,483 to 2,165,060. Since March 2013 the labor force has declined by nearly 23,982 people.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent in March.

Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted1)

 

March’s seasonally adjusted, non-farm payrolls increased by 10,200 over the month, to reach the level of 1,922,400. This over-the-month change is the first employment increase since December 2013.

  •  Gains were reported in Professional and Business Services (+3,900); Construction (+2,500); Education and Health Services (+1,900); Leisure and Hospitality (+800); and Manufacturing (+500), with smaller increases in Other Services (+400); Government (+200); and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+100).
  • A decrease occurred only in Financial Activities (-100), and Information remained flat.

 Since March 2013, seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 37,600.

  • Healthy increases were seen in Leisure and Hospitality (+9,200); Professional and Business Services (+8,700); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+5,900); Education and Health Services (+5,500); Manufacturing (+5,400); and Construction (+4,500), with a small gain in Other Services (+200).
  • Government (-1,000); Financial Activities (-500); and Information (-200) experienced losses.

 Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted2)

The not-seasonally adjusted, non-farm payroll employment in March increased by 26,000 over the month to 1,917,100. This increase is typical as many private businesses increase hiring at the start of spring. Gains were in Leisure and Hospitality (+9,300); Professional and Business Services (+4,400); Government (+4,300); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2,300); Construction (+2,100); Education and Health Services (+1,700); Manufacturing (+900); Other Services (+800); and Financial Activities (+200). No industries reported losses since last month.

Since March 2013, jobs were up 39,400 overall with gains in Leisure and Hospitality (+11,400); Professional and Business Services (+8,000); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+6,000); Education and Health Services (+6,000); Manufacturing (+5,100); and Construction (+3,500). There were modest losses over the year in Information (-200); Government (-200); Financial Activities (-100); Natural Resources and Mining (-100).

“South Carolina has seen 10 consecutive months of a declining unemployment rate. The state’s economy is on the right track,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, DEW Executive Director. “More South Carolinians are working now than ever before. Businesses and workforce partners continue to work every day to make sure we get every South Carolinian back to work.”

 For the full employment situation, including county-level data, visit the DEW website.

 

Libraries Can Connect You with the Right Job Search Resources

National Library Week, which lasts through April 19, provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful resources libraries bring to our communities.

In fact, public libraries throughout South Carolina offer excellent job search resources, and more than 70 serve as Connection Points for SC Department of Employment and Workforce and SC Works services. Along with computer access, the Connection Points include printed resources and online tutorials to assist individuals search for jobs and file unemployment claims.

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About 30 percent of Americans who use libraries say that job search services are important to them, according to a recent Pew Research Center report on public library engagement in our country.

Many S.C. libraries also offer workshops and other resources designed to help you find employment.  Check out a sampling from around the state:

To find a DEW Connection Point at library near you, visit this page. Search for your closest public library on the SC State Library’s directory.

Attention Myrtle Beach Area Veterans on the Job Hunt

Are you a veteran looking for a job along South Carolina’s Grand Strand?

Check out the Veterans’ Career and Job Fair on April 24 in Myrtle Beach. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the SC National Guard Armory,  501 19th Ave. S., Myrtle Beach.

The fair is open to veterans, current service members and their spouses. About 20 employers are already signed up to attend. Some include Advanced Protection Services, the City of Myrtle Beach, Kingston Resorts Hilton, the SC Department of Public Safety, the Social Security Administration and Startek.

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For more information, visit this page

Part of Operation Palmetto Employment, the career and job fair is sponsored by the SC National Guard, SC Works Conway and the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments.

JAG-SC and Bank of America partner to teach local students about financial literacy

Job Specialist Linda Williams with her students at West Florence High School

Job Specialist Linda Williams with her students at West Florence High School

Jobs for America’s Graduates-SC (JAG-SC) partners with many businesses and organizations regionally and locally to provide guest speakers who offer their resources to assist the JAG programs in their community. Job Specialist Linda Williams at West Florence High School recently partnered with Bank of America to help provide her JAG students with real-world scenarios by bringing them into the classroom.

Vestina Davis-McElveen is a personal banker at Bank of America in Florence who instructed the JAG-SC class at West Florence High School in Financial Literacy and Financial Education.  McElveen provided a series of workshops that addressed topics related to financial literacy and education including everything from how to set a budget and stick to it, better money habits and bank accounts (savings and checking) to keeping your financial information safe, earning compound interest and building credit and keeping it healthy.

This series is a great example of the life skills that JAG-SC includes in its curriculum. After this initial series of workshops, Bank of America in Florence decided to adopt the Florence High School JAG program and plans to return every semester to deliver this same series.

Who’s Hiring in the Pee Dee and Along the Coast?

Is your job search taking you to the eastern half of South Carolina? If so, check out the companies and organizations with the most openings in that region listed on SC Works Online Services.

In the Pee Dee, Charleston area, Low Country and along the Grand Strand, healthcare, retail and hospitality organizations top the lists of employers looking for workers.

Below shows the 25 employers posting the most jobs in the Pee Dee as of April 8. This area includes Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marlboro and Marion counties.

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The Trident area (below) includes Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.

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The Lowcountry area includes Beaufort, Colleton, Jasper and Hampton counties.

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The Waccamaw area includes Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.

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Who’s Hiring in the Upstate?

Healthcare and retail organizations top the list of companies posting the most job openings in the Upstate region, according to recent data from SC Works Online Services.

To start your own job search, visit jobs.scworks.org. On the right side of the page in the “Search for a Job” box, enter your zip code and a key word describing what type of position you are interested in.

Below includes the lists of the top 25 employers with the most openings in each workforce area of the Upstate as of April 8.

Greenville County is first.

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Below are the 25 companies with the most openings in the Upstate area, which includes Cherokee, Spartanburg and Union counties.

 

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The Worklink area (below) includes Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties.

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Visit us tomorrow to see who’s hiring in the Pee Dee and along South Carolina’s coast.

Who’s Hiring? Midlands, Rock Hill and Orangeburg Employers Posting the Most Openings

There are more than 65,000 job openings in South Carolina available through SC Works Online Services at jobs.scworks.org.

Want to know which companies in your community are hiring? Below, are the employers with the most openings in the Midlands, Rock Hill and Orangeburg areas as of April 8.

To start your personalized job search, visit jobs.scworks.org. Enter your zip code and key words such as “machinist” or “nurse” to find openings that fit your interests.

Below are the top 25 employers with openings in the Midlands Workforce Investment Area, which includes Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties.

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The Catawba area (below) includes Chester, York and Lancaster counties.

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The Santee-Lynches area (below) includes Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties.

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The Lower Savannah area (below) includes Aiken, Orangeburg, Calhoun, Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

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Visit Palmetto Workforce Connections throughout the week to learn what companies are hiring in other parts of the state.

 

Tax Season and Your Job Search: Learn What You Can Deduct

With the April 15 income tax filing deadline coming soon, it’s a good time to refresh yourself on how your job search expenses can impact your taxes.

You can deduct certain expenses you’ve incurred while looking for a new job, if it’s in the same field as your present or most current occupation. You can’t deduct these expenses if you’re changing career fields, there was a substantial break between your last job ending and your search for a new one, or if you are looking for a job for the first time, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Below are some of the deductions possible if you are looking for a job within your current occupation:

  • Employment and outplacement agency fees.
  • Resume preparation and expenses. You can deduct what you spend for preparing and mailing copies of your resume to potential employers.
  • Travel expenses. You can deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job.

 For detailed guidelines, read the IRS’s Publication 529: Miscellaneous Deductions.

If you collected Unemployment Insurance during any part of the year, this is considered taxable income by the IRS.  In South Carolina, federal and state taxes are not automatically withheld from your unemployment benefits. You must choose to have them withheld when submitting your initial claim.

You can download and print your 1099-G as well as update your withholding information through the MyBenefits portal.

Learn more here.