JAG-SC Shines in Washington

Almost 200 students and teachers representing Jobs for Americas Graduates-SC (JAG-SC) spent the past two days meeting with leaders in our nation’s capital.

JAG-Scott2_smallThe JAG National Leadership Awards Luncheon was held today to recognize a variety of corporate and government leaders who make the high school dropout prevention and job readiness program possible. Several South Carolinians were honored during the two day festivities:

  • Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW), received the Government Leader Award for demonstrating extraordinary leadership in an elected or appointed government office.  She was recognized for promoting the JAG mission to diverse audiences and her overall leadership and investment in the state’s emerging workforce.
  • Kendra Smith, a South Florence High JAG-SC student, was selected to sing the National Anthem at the luncheon.
  • Yetzibel Santos of Swansea High represented South Carolina in JAG’s celebration of one million students. The organization hit the milestone of one million students served this year, and each state designated a delegate to mark the occasion.

ScottJAG_1_smallOn Wednesday, students from the Palmetto State got a chance to meet and spend time with Sen. Tim Scott at the Capitol. Coordinated by DEW, JAG-SC is currently in its ninth year and has served more than 7,000 students.

With the help of a dedicated career specialist at each participating school, JAG 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.

State’s Businesses to Save on Federal Unemployment Taxes for Fourth Consecutive Year

For the fourth consecutive year, S.C. businesses will only pay the minimum 0.6 percent per employee for federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) because the Palmetto State once again met the requirements to obtain the maximum 5.4 percent credit for 2014 FUTA.

South Carolina is the only borrowing state to receive a waiver for the full 5.4 percent. Receiving this credit means S.C. businesses will save up to $140 per worker.

“This is just another example of the positive track our state’s unemployment trust fund is on as we approach solvency in the coming year,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, executive director of the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). “Thanks to diligent fiscal stewardship by our governor and General Assembly, we are able to tell the state’s business community that it will realize the maximum benefits of FUTA cost savings for the fourth year in a row.”

Federal law requires a reduction in the FUTA tax credit (i.e. that the FUTA rate for a state’s employers will increase) when a state has outstanding federal unemployment loans for two consecutive Januarys and has not made sufficient voluntary payments towards the loan and other solvency improvement measures. Such reduction in the FUTA tax credit would be higher when a state has outstanding federal unemployment loans for five consecutive Januarys—which is the case in South Carolina. However, borrowing states like South Carolina can formally ask the U.S. Department of Labor for the credit reduction to be avoided if they meet certain criteria that exhibit fiscal responsibility.

One of the requirements was that South Carolina make a voluntary payment toward the outstanding loan balance before Nov. 10. This year, the state made a $60 million payment in April and a $126 million payment in September. Most importantly, S.C. businesses have seen an 18 to 25 percent reduction in their unemployment taxes since 2011.

South Carolina also has repaid approximately $700 million of the $977 million borrowed from the federal government.

The outstanding balance on the loan is $270 million, and the state is scheduled to repay the loan in full by the end of 2015.

Palmetto State Manufacturing on the Road to Recovery

South Carolina has one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the region and nation, according to a recent U.S. Commerce Department, Bureau of Economic Analysis report.

The report ranked South Carolina’s economy as the 12th fastest growing in the nation, coupled with the fastest growing manufacturing Gross Domestic Product on the East Coast.

Employment Trends

Manufacturing in the Palmetto State breaks down into five primary subsectors: Food; Chemical; Plastics and Rubber; Fabricated Metal; and Machinery Manufacturing.

These primary subsectors along with others formed the industry’s estimated 224,533 workers in 2013, the most recent data available.

manufacturing employment

Source: Quarterly Census of Employment & Wage

Though the manufacturing industry has had an extremely rough past decade, as the average employment dropped 7,400 per year, the figures vary largely with the financial well-being of the economy as the number of companies dropped sharply in 2003, 2007, and 2009.

Manufacturing employment has made an extreme turn around, going from decreasing fairly constantly to increasing at a substantial growth rate. According to the Department of Commerce, the manufacturing sector comprised 68 percent of new jobs and 82 percent of capital investment (10,442 jobs and $4.5 billion in investment) in 2013.

Employment Opportunities

If you’re thinking about starting a career in this booming industry sector, check out the top occupations in 2013 and the most requested manufacturing certifications by employers as of June 2014.

Top 10 South Carolina manufacturing occupations in 2013:

  • Team Assemblers
  • First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
  • Machinists
  • Helpers–Production Workers
  • Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
  • Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders
  • Slaughterers and Meat Packers
  • Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic

Source: Occupational Employment Statistics

Top manufacturing certifications requested by employers in South Carolina as of June 2014:

  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration certification
  • Food safety programs
  • Material Handling Equipment
  • Automotive supply chain quality management certification
  • Forklift certification
  • Certified Welding Inspector
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers certification
  • American Production and Inventory Control Society certification
  • Top Secret Sensitive Clearance
  • First Aid certification

Source: The Conference Board Help Wanted Online® data series Outlook

A longer version of this article originally appeared in Insights, a publication of the S.C. Department and Workforce’s Business Intelligence Department. Read previous Insights articles here.

DEW and OPE: Proudly Serving Those Who Have Served

Happy Veterans Day to all those men and women who have served our nation in the Armed Forces.

On this special day, we’d like to remind veterans of the ways the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and its partners are committed to serving those who have sacrificed for their country.

The good news is South Carolina’s unemployment rate for veterans is now the nation’s sixth lowest at 4.1 percent. However, DEW continues to work tirelessly to help veterans with employment opportunities.  Read this recent success story from Spartanburg.

DEW has a range of resources for veterans in SC Works centers statewide. Some of the offerings include job search workshops, resume assistance, career counseling, and intensive services such as one-on-one case management and follow-up, career counseling and job referrals.Vetssignin2

All veterans receive priority service in SC Works centers. This means veterans and eligible spouses receive access to a service earlier than others.

DEW is also a proud supporter of Operation Palmetto Employment, a partnership with the South Carolina National Guard to provide comprehensive statewide veterans’ job placement services and help businesses connect with military members, veterans and spouses.

Whether you are a business looking for your next great hire or a service member searching for a meaningful civilian career, visit operationpalmettoemployment.sc.gov to find all the resources you’ll need to succeed.

Mark your calendar for the Hiring Our Heroes hiring fair Nov. 18 at Fort Jackson. An employment workshop starts at 8:30 a.m., and the job fair is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free, but you should register at hiringourheroes.org.

Important Upcoming Changes in State Law – Corporate Officer Exemption

Beginning January 1, 2015, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce will be implementing a new law regarding unemployment insurance coverage for corporate officers.

S.C. Code Ann. § 41-27-265 exempts corporate officers from state unemployment insurance (UI) coverage. However, a corporation may elect coverage of its corporate officers. The law only applies to officers of a corporation, and does not apply to other business entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs), sole proprietors or partnerships.

If corporate officers are covered by UI, the employer must report the individuals each quarter as employees and pay state unemployment taxes on their wages. Corporate officers that are covered by UI may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs and meet eligibility requirements.

More in-depth information and frequently asked questions are provided at dew.sc.gov/corpofficers.

Online job ads drop slightly but remain more than 64,000 strong in S.C.

There were more than 64,000 job vacancies in South Carolina advertised online in October, according to recent data from the Conference Board.

The total of advertised openings in the Palmetto State dropped by 2,300 from September, but overall, the South experienced the nation’s largest increase in job postings.


If you’re on the hunt, consider looking in the business and financial arena or in healthcare. These two industries posted the month’s sharpest increases.

To search for a job near you visit SC Works Online Services and enter your zip code and a key word such as “accountant” or “medical coding.” You can also download the free SC Works app to your mobile device. Search “SC Works” in the Apple or Android app store.  The app lets you search and map nearby job openings.

The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® Data Series measures the number of new, first-time online jobs and jobs reposted from the previous month for more than 16,000 Internet job boards, corporate boards and smaller job sites that serve niche markets and smaller geographic areas.

Background information and technical notes about the series are available here.

Success Spotlight: SC Works Program Helps Upstate Father in Work and Family Life

Noah Henderson was out of work and behind in child support. Wanting to fulfill his responsibilities, he began aggressively looking for employment options.

The search led him to the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition for both job search assistance and guidance on how to become a well-rounded father.


Noah arrived at the right place. Thanks to a partnership established between SC Works Greenville and the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition, a program was available to help unemployed noncustodial parents like Noah find work, make consistent child support payments and enhance their economic stability.

Noah registered for and received Workforce Investment Act (WIA) intensive services, which helped him define his skills, generate a good resume and prepare him for interviews. He enrolled in both parenting classes through the Fatherhood Coalition and in Greenville Technical College’s Construction Engineering program. He applies what he learned in the parenting education classes daily.

He is currently employed with Stock Building Supply, which is aligned with his program of study at Greenville Tech. Noah has fulfilled his child support obligations and remains current with his responsibility. He graduated from the Upstate Fatherhood program and continues to set goals for his future.

–Submitted by Greenville County Workforce Development

Employer Unemployment Tax Update

2015 Tax Rate Table Released


The unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates applicable for wages paid between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 were released today and are shown in the table below. A Notice of Contribution Rate detailing individual rates will be distributed by mail to each employer in the coming weeks. Individual rates are based on an employer’s computed benefit ratio. The tax rate class assignment in the notice should be used for the full calendar year. Please note that as of January 1, 2015, tax rates will be applicable to the first $14,000 each employee earns.

tax table

Third Quarter Wage and Contribution Reports Due 

october31Third quarter Wage and Contribution Reports (regarding wages paid between July and September) are due Oct. 31. Third Quarter Wage and Contribution Reports Due

DEW does not mail Quarterly Contribution and Wage Reports. We offer two convenient methods for employers to file online through either the SCBOS or the South Carolina Automated Tax System.

The following are examples of wages that should be included in your report:

  • All payments made for personal service, including bonuses and commissions paid to all workers of all ranks, including corporate officers.
  • The cash value of all payments in any medium other than cash.
  • All tips.
  • Reasonable compensation for services provided, including K-1 distributions.
  • Monies paid for time lost due to sickness or accident, unless paid out of benefit funds or other special accounts.
  • Expense allowances, which are not regularly and reasonably segregated.
  • Dismissal wages, which do not represent the worker’s interest in a pension fund.
  • All monies paid before any deductions for such items as lodging, union dues, employee payments to pension or benefit funds, Social Security tax, and premiums on group insurance.

For questions visit dew.sc.gov/UITax or call the UI Tax Division at 803.737.3080


More than 1,300 Jobseekers Attend Midlands Job Fair

DSCN2100Shanice Cunningham and Tyrell Lewis are both new to the job search process. In fact, Tuesday’s Midlands Job Fair at the Bluff Road National Guard Armory was the first event of this type for both jobseekers.

“I have one year left before getting my HVAC certificate from Fortis College, and I’m just trying to get some related experience under my belt before graduating,” Lewis said.

Cunningham, who is currently employed, is looking for a new opportunity in the customer service industry.

And with more than 62 employers with open positions, there were plenty of opportunities to go around.

“I came out today for Aflac, Allsouth and TD Bank,” Cunningham said.

Each company the two spoke to provided a good bit of information about their hiring process and also took time to hear from each of jobseeker about their qualifications.

“I spoke with every employer I came here to see, and I definitely feel more hopeful than when I came in,” added Lewis.

DSCN2107Columbia Fire Department was among the employers taking applications.

“We’re trying to fill between 20 and 25 probationary fire fighter positions by December,” said Captain James Bostic.

Less than two hours into the event, more than 50 jobseekers had filled out applications for the openings.

“We often partner with SC Works to get involved in events like this,” he explained. “The turnout is always great.”

The starting salary for probationary fire fighters is $31,000 and you begin getting paid immediately upon hire.

“We test in November, hire in December and the recruitment class starts in January, so it’s a fairly fast process,” said Captain Bostic.

Visit columbiarichlandfire.net for more information on how to apply.

DSCN2110Gary Brazell is at a different stage in his job search process. Having been unemployed for about four months and with more than 15 years of commercial driving experience under his belt, he is looking for a fresh start and a new career.

“I walked into the SC Works center downtown not knowing if anyone could help me because I’m not on unemployment benefits,” he explained, “but soon enough I was sitting down with a case manager and told about several options for a new career path.”

Brazell is in the beginning stages of Workforce Investment Act Program and has already met with Midlands Technical College about his prospective career path.

“The next step is to pass the WorkKeys test and then hopefully enroll in an Information Technology program,” he explained.

But at yesterday’s job fair, he was looking for just about anything to fill the gap of employment until he updated his skill sets.

“Even before I was a driver, I had a lot of experience in various industries, but employers nowadays want you to be up-to-date and have that recent experience,” he said.

“I’m just getting started here, but I’m hopeful about the opportunities available to me.”

Want to learn about upcoming job fairs in your area? Visit dew.sc.gov/jobfairs and follow @SCWorksinfo on Twitter.

South Carolina’s Employment Situation: September 2014

 Unemployment Rate Increases for Third Consecutive Month

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.6 percent in September from a revised August level of 6.3 percent. The number of unemployed persons was 144,388, an increase of 6,437 over the month. The number of South Carolinians working ticked up by 2,527 people to 2,038,393. Over the month, the labor force increased by 8,964 people to a level of 2,182,781.

Since September 2013, 21,259 people have found work, and the labor force has increased by nearly 6,640 people. The state’s unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage points since September 2013.

Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased to 5.9 percent in September from 6.1 percent in August.

 Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Seasonally Adjusted)

Seasonally adjusted, non-farm payrolls in September increased 13,000 to a level of 1,946,200.

  • Leisure and Hospitality (+3,700) and Professional and Business Services (+2,900) had the largest gains.
  • Construction (+1,800); Manufacturing (+1,400); Government (+1,400); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+1,100); Financial Activities (+400); and Education and Health Services (+300) also posted increases.

Since September 2013, seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 43,200.

  • The largest jumps were in Leisure and Hospitality (+11,800); Professional and Business Services (+10,200); Manufacturing (+7,600); Education and Health Services (+6,200); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+5,600); Construction (+3,200); and Government (+1,000).
  • Declines over the year were in Other Services (-900); Financial Activities (-700); and Information (-700).

Nonagricultural Employment by Industry (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The not-seasonally adjusted, non-farm payroll employment total in September increased 18,600 over the month to 1,949,000. Historically, employment has experienced growth during September as schools gear up for the semester.

The rise in employment was due to increases in Government (+21,200); Education and Health Services (+3,000); Professional and Business Services (+2,000); Manufacturing (+1,200); and Construction (+200). Industries reporting decreases were Leisure and Hospitality (-5,900); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-2,100); Other Services (-500); Information (-400); and Financial Activities (-100).

Since September 2013, not-seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs were up 37,800 overall. Strong annual gains came from Professional and Business Services (+10,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+8,300); Manufacturing (+7,600); Education and Health Services (+6,200); Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+4,200); Government (+2,200); and Construction (+1,600). Notable drops over the year were reported in Other Services (-1,500); Financial Activities (-900); and Information (-600).

 *Seasonally Adjusted: Seasonal adjustment removes the effects of events that follow a more or less regular pattern each year (i.e. tourist-related hiring and school closings in the summer). These adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical and other nonseasonal movements in data over time.

 *Not Seasonally Adjusted: Effects of regular or seasonal patterns have not been removed from these data.