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5 of 6 Pee Dee counties now have unemployment rates over 20%
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5 of 6 Pee Dee counties now have unemployment rates over 20%

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FLORENCE, S.C. — Dillon County is now potentially the only county in the six-county Pee Dee region to have an unemployment rate below 20%. 

The number of claims filed by week has been falling for five consecutive weeks in five out of six Pee Dee counties. Florence County (2,168 initial claims), Darlington (1,084), Marion (453), Dillon (371), and Marlboro (382) all hit highs of initial filers during the week ending April 11. Williamsburg County (411) hit its highest number of initial filers one week later. 

The latest information from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce indicates that a total of 2,456 people in Dillon have filed initial unemployment claims since the shutdowns were implemented to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.  Assuming that Dillon County has a labor force similar in size to the labor force it had when the shutdowns began — it's not likely many people have moved — and that none of the people who filed initial unemployment claims have gotten jobs —or that very many people have gotten jobs — Dillon County would have an unemployment rate of 18.52% to lead the Pee Dee region. 

The number of initial claims filed in Dillon County includes 125 people during the week ending May 16, 217 the week ending May 9, 229 initial claims filed the week ending May 2, 233 claims filed the week ending April 25, 309 more initial claims the week ending April 18, 371 people the week ending April 11, 237 people the week ending April 4, 132 the week ending March 28, 64 the week ending March 21 and 539 people who filed claims in March.

The county with the next-lowest unemployment rate, using the data from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce and making the same assumptions as were made to calculate the rate in Dillon County, Florence County would have an unemployment rate of 20.91%. 

In Florence County, 769 people filed initial claims during the week ending May 16, joining 865 the week ending May 9, 1,291 the week ending May 2, 1,582 people who filed initial claims for the week ending April 25, 1,866 people who filed initial claims during the week ending April 18, 2,168 people the week of April 11, 1,865 the week of April 4, 1,257 the week of March 28, and 553 people the week of March 21. 

Darlington County would have an unemployment rate of 21.41%.

In Darlington County, 363 people filed initial claims the week ending May 16, joining 381 people the week ending May 9, 532 people the week ending May 2, 719 people who filed during the week ending April 25, 755 people who filed during the week ending April 18, 1,084 people who filed during the week ending on April 11, 849 people during the week of March 29-April 4, 646 people during the week of March 22-28 and 190 people for March 15-21. Combined with the 1,014 people who filed for unemployment benefits before March 12, 4,538 people have claimed unemployment in Darlington County since March 1.

Williamsburg County would have an unemployment rate of 23.19%.

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The number of unemployed includes 147 people filing during the week ending May 16, 188 during the week ending May 9, 281 the week ending May 2, 295 people the week ending April 25, 411 the week ending April 18,341 for the week ending April 11, 317 people the week ending April 4, 259 people the week ending March 28, 67 people the week ending March 21 and 587 people filing in early March.

Marion County would have an unemployment rate of 24.1%.

The number of unemployed people in Marion County includes 576 people filing initial claims before March 12, 125 people during the week ending March 21, 262 people during the week ending March 28, 356 people during the week ending April 4, 453 people during the week ending April 11, 373 people during the week ending April 18, 284 people the week of April 25, 298 people the week of May 2, 215 the week ending May 9, and 203 the week ending May 16. 

And Marlboro County would have an unemployment rate of 28.72%.

In Marlboro County, 2,683 people have filed initial unemployment claims since March 1 including 136 people the week ending May 16, 307 people the week ending May 9, 224 people filed initial claims during the week ending May 2, joining 195 people who filed initial claims during the week ending April 25, 368 people filing during the week ending April 18, 382 people filing for initial benefits during the week ending April 11, another 382 during the week ending April 4, 195 during the week ending March 28, 50 during the week ending March 21 and 435 people who filed in March.

Overall, the Pee Dee region would have an unemployment rate of 21.78%.

The number of people filing initial claims in the Pee Dee includes 1,743 between May 10 and May 16, 2,173 between May 3 and May 9, 2,855 filing between April 26 and May 2, 3,308 filing between April 19 and April 25, 4,082 filing between April 12 and April 18, 4,799 people who filed between April 5 and April 11, 3,826 people who filed between March 29 and April 4, 2,751 people who filed claims between March 22 and March 28 and 1,049 people who filed claims between March 15 and March 21. 5,244 people filed for initial benefits before March 12 in the Pee Dee region. 

In South Carolina, 29446 people filed initial claims last week, putting the projected unemployment rate at 23.96%. 

Horry County, which shares a border with Dillon and Marion Counties and relies on tourism for much of its economy, has been particularly hard hit. In Horry, 55,581 people have filed initial unemployment claims since March 15, including 1,999 people last week, which would indicate an unemployment rate of 41.45%. 

Nationally, 2.4 million people filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, putting the number of claims since the shutdowns were implemented to over 38 million people. 

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Government and Politics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

Related to this story

FLORENCE, S.C. — Florence County recorded the lowest number of initial unemployment claims since mid-March last week. During the week ending Aug. 1, 300 of Florence County's residents made initial unemployment claims which is the lowest number since the shutdowns were implemented to prevent a level of spread of COVID-19 that would overwhelm local hospitals. The previous low was 442 claims made during the week ending July 18. Overall, 18,558 Florence County residents have made initial unemployment claims since March 15. 

FLORENCE, S.C. — The number of weekly initial unemployment claims continues to fall in the Pee Dee region. Each of the six counties in the region had their lowest number of initial claims during the week ending Aug. 8 according to the latest information released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce Thursday morning.

FLORENCE, S.C. — Three of the six counties in the Pee Dee region posted their lowest number of unemployment claims since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdowns in mid-March last week. Florence, Darlington, and Williamsburg Counties set new lows in the number of initial unemployment claims during the week ending Aug. 29 according to the latest data released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce Thursday morning. 

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