SC’s June Employment Situation

Unemployment Rate Falls; Nearly 2,100 People Find Employment in June

The state’s unemployment rate decreased to 6.6 percent in June from the May level of 6.8 percent. South Carolina’s employment level continued to improve in June as nearly 2,100 people found work. This marks 67 consecutive months that employment has increased, reaching another historic high of 2,112,034 people working.

After rising sixteen consecutive months, the labor force declined slightly from May to June by 2,307 to 2,260,791 people. The number of unemployed decreased by nearly 4,401 to 148,757.

The labor force has grown by 76,198 people over the last twelve months. Since June 2014 the level of unemployed individuals increased by 11,929 people. Since a year ago, 64,269 job seekers have found work.

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 5.5 percent in May to June’s estimate of 5.3 percent.

“Our economy is making phenomenal progress with 67 consecutive months of employment growth. Over the last 5½ years, there are more than 215,000 additional South Carolinians working, an expansion of more than 10 percent of the state’s workforce.”

Read the full employment report here.

SC’s May Employment Situation

Employment Growth Remains Vigorous; Labor Force Expansion Continues

South Carolina’s economic progress continued to impact employment and labor force estimates in May. The number of working South Carolinians reached another historic high to an estimated 2,109,984 people. 65,006 people have found work since May 2014.

The labor force increased by 7,459 people in May to 2,263,293, extending a growth trend to sixteen consecutive months. Over the last twelve months, the labor force has expanded by 84,003 people.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.8 percent in May from 6.7 percent in April, as the number of unemployed persons increased by 1,856 to 153,309. Since May 2014, the number of unemployed people has increased by 18,997.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from 5.4 percent in April to May’s estimate of 5.5 percent.

“I’m encouraged that 65,000 more South Carolinians are working today than a year ago,” said DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton. “The state’s economy continues to flourish, illustrated by 66 consecutive months of employment growth.”

Read the full employment report here.

State Makes Final Unemployment Trust Fund Loan Payment

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DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton is joined by Gov. Nikki Haley, members of the SC General Assembly and business representatives from across the state to announce the early payoff of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund loan. (DEW)

Early Payment Saves Millions In Tax Dollars, Reestablishes Solvency

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) announced that the almost $1 billion federal loan used to help pay state unemployment insurance benefits since 2008 has been repaid. DEW made a final $120 million early payment today to the U.S. Department of Labor. The deadline to pay off the loan was scheduled for November 2015. However, early and voluntary payments on the loan by DEW between 2011 and 2015 led to returning the trust fund to solvency, saving businesses more than $12 million in interest payments.

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Depiction of the life of Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund loan, now fully paid off. (DEW)

Governor Nikki R. Haley and DEW Executive Director, Cheryl M. Stanton, were joined by Sen. Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee), Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson), Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee), Rep. Kenny Bingham (R-Lexington), and several key members of the business community at the State House today for the announcement.

“This loan payoff is truly a cause for celebration,” said Governor Nikki Haley. “Restoring solvency to the state’s unemployment trust fund is another step in our state becoming debt free and is quantitative proof that our citizens are finding work, businesses are strengthening our workforce and economy, DEW is cracking down on fraudulent claims and the South Carolina is truly open for business.”

The loan, which reached its peak of $977.7 million in March 2011, was issued by the federal government during the height of the Great Recession. As the recession remained, South Carolina was forced to borrow to ensure that unemployment payments could continue during the economic decline.

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Timeline of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund loan payoff. The loan peaked at $977.7 million in March 2011 and was satisfied early through voluntary payments. (DEW)

“Thanks to the great work of businesses now employing the most South Carolinians in our state’s history, the work of the General Assembly on tightening eligibility of benefits and the great work of employees at DEW protecting the integrity of the trust fund, we have repaid the federal government early, and are now on track to rebuild the fund to an adequate level for the state. This has been a true team effort with our business community and workforce training partners working tirelessly to not only create jobs, but also to fill them with skilled workers, and actively fighting fraud and abuse to the system,” said Director Stanton.

Senator Thomas Alexander said, “South Carolina’s ability to pay off its unemployment trust fund loan early is a true testament to the fortitude of the employers in the Palmetto State, the Department of Employment and Workforce, and our state’s General Assembly. Working together, we are continuing to demonstrate that South Carolina leads the nation as a business friendly state.”

Thirty-six different states have taken advances from the federal government during the last six years. However, since the inception of the loan, South Carolina has been the only state to continually maintain the full 5.4% Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) credit, saving the business community millions of dollars in higher federal taxes.

“By paying off the loan early, we are saving employers in our state from having to pay over $12 million in federal unemployment taxes,” said Representative Bill Sandifer. “We can then use that money to grow our economy, create jobs, and find innovative ways to put more money back in the pockets of South Carolina taxpayers, which is something we strive to do whenever possible.”

Three Additional S.C. Counties Certified as Work Ready

SC Work Ready Communities

Gov. Nikki Haley announced today that three more South Carolina counties are now certified as work ready, continuing to outpace the nation in an initiative that showcases the highly skilled workforce that businesses require in a competitive economy.

The latest South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) are Hampton, Oconee and Spartanburg counties.

“Communities across South Carolina are continuing to showcase our state’s greatest asset – its people and the strong, loyal workforce they make up,” Gov. Haley said. “The certification of these three counties puts South Carolina one step closer to becoming the nation’s first certified work ready state, and truly represents our dedication to providing businesses with a workforce capable of meeting the demands of any industry.”

The three newly-certified counties have all met specified workforce and education goals, demonstrating to businesses a strong workforce and commitment to economic growth. The Palmetto State now has 32 counties with this designation, which is more than any other state in the nation.

“We are excited every time a county earns the certified work ready designation,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “Becoming a certified work ready community creates an opportunity for citizens in that county because it sends a clear message that the community is open for business, and companies who invest here will find the workforce they need to be successful.”

SCWRC provides a framework to strengthen economic development using a community-based approach grounded in certifying counties as work ready.

To become a South Carolina Work Ready Community, a county has to reach or exceed goals in earning National Career Readiness Certificates (achieved through WorkKeys® testing), meet or exceed the three-year graduation rate average or improvement percentage, and engage business support.    The latest work ready counties join the ranks of 29 others that have been certified since the initiative began in 2013. Find a map of certified counties here.

For additional information, visit www.scworkready.org.

SC’s April Employment Situation

Employment Continues to Soar – Exceeds 2.1 Million People for the First Time

The number of employed South Carolinians broke a major barrier for the first time in April exceeding the 2.1 million threshold. The number of South Carolinians working in April reached 2,104,590 people, an increase of 8,106 from March. During the first four months of 2015, people across the state entered the labor force at historic levels and found employment opportunities as the state’s economy continued expanding at a robust pace.

The labor force (people working and searching for work) was estimated at 2,256,118, an increase of 9,875 over the month, marking a record as well. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent, as the labor force expanded for the fifteenth consecutive month. The estimated number of unemployed persons was 151,528, showing modest increase since March of 1,769 people.

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 5.5 to 5.4 percent.

“The positive economy in South Carolina is drawing more and more people into the workforce as evidenced by this month’s record breaking number of citizens who are employed,” said SCDEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton. “In the last month, nearly 10,000 South Carolinians entered the labor force showing that our state is optimistic about job opportunities.”

Read the full employment report here.

 

Visit SCWorkforceInfo.com for All Things Jobs

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Maybe you’re fed up with your current job, and need a change of pace. Maybe you’re interested in moving to South Carolina, and want to see what’s out there for you. Maybe you’re a student eager to see if you can put your degree to work after graduation. Or, maybe you’re just curious about the nature of the workforce on local, state and national levels. No matter what it is you’re looking for, you can almost certainly find it at SCWorkforceInfo.com.

SCWorkforceInfo.com is your go-to for information on all things job-related in South Carolina. SCWorkforceInfo.com provides helpful information for employers, businesses, educators and career advisors.

The website compiles information from both the Business Intelligence Department of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics to allow both employers and prospective employees to make informed decisions about their education, career and money. SCWorkforceInfo.com also provides up-to-date county, state and national unemployment statistics. See a monthly report from DEW which includes information on how many people are employed, unemployed, and how many unemployment insurance claims have been made. With a few keystrokes, you can easily see how your hometown measures up or if making the move is the right choice. SCWorkforceInfo.com provides an economic outlook for the state of SC every month, as well as Community Profile Reports that disclose statistics on demographics, economic, education and industry by region, county or workforce.

Visit SCworkforceinfo.com for all the labor market information you need.

JAG-SC Shines Spotlight on Community Service

Young people serving their communities took the spotlight recently at the Jobs for America’s Graduates-SC (JAG-SC) annual Career Development Conference.

The annual event, held April 30 at Brookland Baptist Banquet and Conference Center in West Columbia, featured more than 600 students from 25 high schools.

Students from Swansea High received a Jefferson Award for community service.

Students from Swansea High received a Jefferson Award for community service.

U.S. Marshal Kelvin Washington, who delivered a motivational speech to the group, encouraged the young people to place service over self.

“Take care of the folks that are not in a position to take care of themselves,” Washington said. “Changes in your community begin with changes in you.”

JAG-SC students’ dedication to improving their communities was evident in projects presented at the conference. This academic year, JAG-SC schools partnered with the Jefferson Awards Students in Action program. Founded by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1972, the Jefferson Awards Foundation is dedicated to activating and celebrating public service.

So far this school year, JAG-SC schools logged more than 25,000 volunteer hours, according to Jefferson Awards Regional Director Heather Love. During the conference, the top three schools delivered oral presentations outlining their service projects. Swansea High, which runs a food bank for the community, received top honors.

Also at the conference, Manning High was crowned the state champion after collecting the most points from all of the day’s competitive events, which covered topics such as interviewing skills, public speaking, decision making and essay writing.

Luis Romero of Swansea High won the Governor’s Award, given annually to recognize the JAG-SC student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement and commitment to his or her goals.

Coordinated by the SC Department of Employment and Workforce, JAG-SC is a high school dropout prevention program focused on academic success and career readiness skills. Currently in its 10th year, it has served more than 8,000 students.

With the help of a dedicated career specialist at each participating school, JAG-SC students work on skills identified by businesses as essential to successful employment. The S.C. program has been consistently recognized at the national level for its success in equipping young people for life beyond high school.

 

Seven Additional S.C. Counties Certified as Work Ready

COLUMBIA—Seven counties were recognized today for achieving certification through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) initiative. The counties are:  Barnwell, Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Lee, Lexington, and Marion.

Gov. Nikki Haley announced that more than half of South Carolina’s counties are now certified as work ready, continuing to outpace the nation in an initiative that showcases the skilled workforce that businesses require in a competitive economy.

“We are well on our way to becoming the nation’s first certified work ready state, and that is a huge reason to celebrate in every part of South Carolina,” Gov. Haley said. “This is a perfect example of Team South Carolina coming together to prove how committed we are to training a highly skilled workforce that is capable of meeting every need a company in our state may have.”

The seven newly certified counties have met all needed workforce and education goals, demonstrating to businesses a strong local workforce and commitment to economic growth. The Palmetto State now has 29 counties with this designation, which is more than any other state in the nation.

“Seven more counties gaining certification illustrates just how committed South Carolina is to developing a world-class workforce,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. “We have seen record employment highs in our state over the past year, and with more than half of South Carolina’s counties now certified as work ready communities, this will further pave the way to filling those open jobs with qualified workers.”

To become a South Carolina Work Ready Community, a county has to reach or exceed goals in earning National Career Readiness Certificates (achieved through WorkKeys® testing), meet or exceed the three-year graduation rate average or improvement percentage, and engage business support.

The latest work ready counties join the ranks of 22 others that have been certified since the initiative began in 2013. Find a map of certified counties here.

For additional information, visit www.scworkready.org.

SC’s March Employment Situation

Labor Force Continues To Rise, Employment Sets Another Record

The number of South Carolinians working in March increased 5,838 and reached another historic high with an estimated 2,096,110 people. March marks the 64th consecutive month of employment growth in the Palmetto State.

The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose modestly to 6.7 percent in March from 6.6 percent in February, as the labor force expanded for the 14th consecutive month. The labor force numbered 2,245,987 people, an increase of 7,536 over the month. During the first quarter of 2015, the number of people entering the labor force marked an all-time high. The vast majority of the people are finding work. The estimated number of unemployed persons was 149,877, showing a slight increase since February of 1,698.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent.

“I’m excited about today’s jobs numbers because South Carolina’s economy continues to expand,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce. “The state has the most South Carolinians working ever, 64 consecutive months of employment growth and 14 consecutive months of labor force expansion.”

Read the full employment situation here.

Tax Season Tips for Job Seekers

April 15 is almost here. But before you push the button or drop your income tax paperwork in the mail, consider these tips if you’ve been unemployed or conducted a job search in the past year.

moneycalendarUnemployment compensation is taxable income, according to the Internal Revenue Service. If you received benefits through the SC Department of Employment and Workforce in 2014, you should have received a 1099-G via your MyBenefits portal account.

If you have trouble accessing or downloading your 1099-G, check out this step-by-step guide.

Don’t forget; you can also deduct certain expenses associated with your job search. The search must be for employment in your current field, and you cannot deduct if there was a substantial break in time from the end of your last job and the start of your search.

Below are some allowable deductions outlined in IRS Publication 529:

  • Employment and outplacement agency fees.
  • Expenses for preparing and mailing resumes to prospective employers.
  • Travel and transportation expenses associated with your job search.