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DEW to lay off 100 workers, upgrade online operations

Staff Report
Published April 9, 2013

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce announced today it will lay off 100 employees beginning in July as the agency streamlines operations and bolsters its online system.

Another 50 workers could lose their jobs unless Congress reauthorizes the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, set to expire at the end of December, the agency added.

The agency, commonly referred to as DEW, laid off 55 workers in November.

Fewer workers are needed because the agency’s workload has lessened as the economy improves. The agency processes an average of 50,000 claims weekly, about one-third of some 140,000 claims that were handled in 2011.

The reduction in staff is being driven by the agency’s elimination of one-on-one help for people seeking benefits and the closing of some local offices.

The agency also announced it has upgraded computer services so that clients can access re-employment and unemployment insurance services online.

“The state’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in four years,” said John L. Finan, DEW administrator. “South Carolinians are finding jobs, and this means that there are fewer people claiming unemployment benefits, which is great news for the Palmetto State.”

The state, though, is receiving less federal funding for operations, which required the DEW to design a new delivery system for services that is “sustainable for the long term as the state continues down the path of economic recovery,” Finan said.

While jobless claims will no longer be taken by representatives at SC Works centers, staff at the 12 comprehensive centers will be able to offer assistance with online filing, the agency said.

DEW is also partnering with libraries, technical colleges and various other community organizations in all 46 counties to provide online connection points.

Clients will be able to file for unemployment benefits online, conduct job searches and submit resumes and job orders.

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