What a difference a few weeks can make. South Carolina job numbers hit record highs in February, before the sweeping coronavirus pandemic crept across the nation and the Palmetto State. According to Andrew Brown at The Post and Courier, the state Department of Employment and Workforce reported February’s employment numbers on March 27, and they showed an economy that was humming along at that moment. “More than 2.3 million people had jobs in South Carolina [in February], and the state recorded an increase in more than 43,000 positions compared to the year before,” Brown wrote. “With an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent, the job numbers indicate small businesses and larger corporations around the state were thriving up until late [February].” But, then COVID-19 hit, meaning things will not likely look nearly as rosy when the March numbers come out. The U.S. Department of Labor announced on March 26 that 31,000 South Carolinans filed for unemployment the previous week. Hold on, folks. This is going to be a bumpy ride.
McCoy to be acting U.S. attorney for South Carolina
There’s a new face in one of the Palmetto State’s top legal posts. As had been widely expected, Republican state Rep. Peter McCoy, of Charleston, was set to be named acting U.S. attorney for South Carolina March 30. As reported by The Post and Courier, McCoy had been nominated by President Donald Trump in February. Now Attorney General William Barr is pushing the appointment along amid a national state of emergency with the coronavirus pandemic. Because there’s not a timetable for the U.S. Senate to return to Washington for a confirmation hearing during the crisis, the idea of placing McCoy in the post with the “acting” title was put in motion. With McCoy set to assume his new position, the Legislature will be losing one of its more measured, bipartisan voices. He also had most recently been the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. McCoy did not file to seek re-election this year.
Richland County committee approves $1.5 million for coronavirus relief
A Richland County Council committee voted to recommend $1.5 million in relief during the growing COVID-19 pandemic. According to David Travis Bland at The State, County Council’s coronavirus ad hoc committee approved the measure during a rare Saturday meeting on March 28. Bland reports that the money will be used for public safety, relief for small businesses, and to help meet food needs for senior citizens and low income residents. Council Chairman Paul Livingston says $500,000 set aside for small businesses would help fill gaps not covered by coming federal stimulus money. The funding was set for a full Council vote on March 31. But, this being Richland County Council, not everything went smoothly with the committee meeting. The group ended up tabling a stay at home order, similar to the one that has already been approved by Columbia City Council. Part of the reason for the tabling was Sheriff Leon Lott, who said he didn’t think such an order is yet necessary in the county.