Businesses Give Ideas, Feedback at Second Roundtable

Palmetto State business leaders and industry representatives offered input on a variety of topics ranging from training to unemployment appeals during the Business Roundtable sponsored by the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW).

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South Carolina’s Employment Situation: March 2012

 Unemployment Rate Below 9.0 Percent for the First Time in More Than Three Years

The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. This is the eighth consecutive month the rate has declined and is the first time in more than three years that the rate has been below 9.0 percent.

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S.C. Business, Industry leaders Discuss Training at DEW Roundtable Event

Training was the main topic during the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce’s (DEW) first Business Roundtable event held April 18 in Columbia.

Representatives from Palmetto State businesses and industry associations voiced their need to fill the gap between available jobs and a highly qualified workforce. Jobs in fields ranging from agriculture and forestry to healthcare and manufacturing have one thing in common. They are increasingly requiring workers skilled in operating high-tech equipment.

S.C. business and industry leaders discuss training needs at the SC Department of Employment and Workforce's first Business Rountable event.

Abraham J. Turner, DEW executive director, offered overviews of a variety of programs and partnerships that could help S.C. businesses including on-the-job training initiatives and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.  Turner created the Business Roundtable as a way to inform employers about DEW initiatives and gather feedback.

“This is about sharing and communicating,” Turner said. “I can assure you that not one topic that was brought up here has fallen on deaf ears. The system should be a system that is responsive to businesses and the citizens of this state.”

Turner also discussed how DEW could assist the state’s 97,000 small businesses by offering recruitment services, matching job candidates with openings and helping set up on-the-job training programs. These business owners, who are busy maintaining productivity, often do not have full-service human resources departments. DEW and SC Works offer a range of business services to help small firms with these needs.

DEW will host monthly Business Roundtable sessions. The next one is scheduled for May 23 at DEW’s C. Lem Harper building in Columbia.


State Agencies Partner to Provide Employment and Training Services to Work-Eligible Program Participants

The SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and the SC Department of Social Services (DSS) today announced a partnership to ultimately improve the employability and overall quality of life for participants in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Spring clean your job search

Spring is officially here.

Flowers are blooming, the weather is getting warmer, baseball season is back and it’s time to start your spring cleaning. But organizing your closet and social calendar shouldn’t be the only two tasks listed on your spring to-do list.

If you’re looking for employment, now is a great time to give your job-seeking strategy a breath of fresh air.

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Answers to Some of Your Questions About Unemployment Benefits

Palmetto Workforce Connections and @scdewinfo  have recently received questions about unemployment benefits with topics ranging from federal programs ending to tax withholdings. Below are some of the questions and answers.

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South Carolina’s January 2012 Employment Situation: Unemployment Rate Continues to Decline

South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January was 9.3 percent, down 0.3 percentage points from December’s revised rate of 9.6 percent.

This marks the sixth consecutive monthly decline.

The drop was mainly the result of an estimated 7,900 people leaving the labor force. The number of employed persons over the month remained virtually the same at 1,951,314.  The number of unemployed persons was estimated at 200,190, the lowest level since November 2008. 

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January.

Annually, labor force estimates are revised as part of the benchmarking process, a nationwide procedure mandated by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics using up-to-date data from various sources.

After benchmarking, South Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for 2011 averaged 10.3 percent, down from the 11.2 percent average reported in 2010.  The state’s employment increased by approximately 26,900 from January 2011 to 2012, even though there was little change in the labor force, bringing the level to 2,151,504.

Typically, historical December-to-January trends depict a loss of jobs. In January 2012, there was no deviation from this norm; the unadjusted payroll survey employment fell by 33,300. 

Notably, there was a decrease of 29,000 private jobs and a loss of 4,300 government jobs. Retail Trade declined 8,300 as temporary help was released after the holiday season.

Other declines were reported in Professional and Business Services (-5,800), Leisure and Hospitality (-5,000), and Construction (-2,000). Manufacturing showed little change for the month (+100).

Despite a monthly loss, the state’s job growth showed an increase of 29,900 jobs over the year. Leading the job growth annually were Manufacturing (+11,700); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+6,700); Leisure and Hospitality (+6,200); and Professional and Business Services (+5,600).

The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online Index showed the number of online job ads in South Carolina had a decrease of about 600 (to 50,000) from December 2011 to January 2012. Across the U.S., there was an increase in ads posted (+61,300) in January. Since a year ago, online ads in the state were about 400 less than January 2011. The number of jobseekers per job opening decreased to 4.0 in January 2012, down from 5.0 in December 2011.

“As I’ve stated in the past, the continued decline in the unemployment rate is something for South Carolinians to be excited about, and we know from the SC Works system that the jobs are out there,” said SC Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner. “It is incumbent upon us, however, to continue to work diligently with businesses to identify the skills necessary to match jobseekers to those jobs.”

For county-level data and more information, check out DEW’s full January 2012 employment situation report.

Thinking about hiring a veteran? Here’s a few reasons why you should…

As many as 1,500 veterans, military personnel and their spouses flooded the Hiring Our Heroes job fair at Fort Jackson this week, in an attempt to snag one of hundreds of immediate job openings at more than 90 businesses.

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