COLUMBIA - South Carolina's Consumer Affairs Department has laid off 24 employees as it struggles with a budget deficit from last year.

The State reported Thursday the reductions amount to 40 percent of the staff at the agency that mediates consumer complaints and licenses some professions.

The agency failed to convince the Budget and Control Board to forgive a deficit of $748,000 from the fiscal year that ended June 30. Consumer Affairs administrator Brandolyn Pinkston says the layoffs will save about 850,000.

Budget and Control Board spokesman Mike Sponhour says his agency has laid off 27 workers because of money problems. The board has about 1,050 employees.

The Board of Economic Advisors meets Thursday afternoon to discuss the state's budget.