Additional Funds for PPP Now Approved, accelerateSC Economic Recovery Task Force Holds First Meeting, SCDEW Releases Updated Numbers

Email to COVID-19 Mailing List: April 24th

Today’s COVID-19 business information compiled by your SC Chamber Team includes: Additional Funds for PPP Now Approved, accelerateSC Economic Recovery Task Force Holds First Meeting, SCDEW Releases Updated Numbers

1. Additional Funds for PPP Now Approved

Today the President signed legislation, approved by the House yesterday, adding approximately $484 billion for coronavirus relief. The package, which the Senate passed unanimously on Tuesday of this week, includes funding for:

  • $310 Billion for PPP
    • Of these funds, $60 Billion is for medium, small, and community lenders:
      • $30 Billion set aside for loans made by federally insured lenders with assets between $10 Billion and $50 Billion
      • $30 Billion set aside for loans made by community financial institutions and small federally insured banks and credit unions with assets under $10 Billion
  • $60 Billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
  • $75 Billion for hospital assistance
  • $25 Billion for COVID-19 testing
    • $11 Billion for states and municipalities
    • $1 Billion to cover costs for testing individuals without health insurance
    • $1 Billion for the CDC

The US Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the US Small Business Administration (SBA) have already updated their Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) sheet for banks loaning the additional PPP funds, and the SBA Interim Final Rule remains in effect at this time. Officials are hopeful that they can begin processing loan applications again soon.

2. accelerateSC Economic Recovery Task Force Holds First Meeting

Task Force Update: In its first meeting yesterday, state agency leaders and many of the 29 accelerateSC task force members outlined the current state of affairs and the challenges that exist within nearly all sectors. The group, led by James Burns of Nelson Mullins, will meet at least two to three more times and will need to present a list of recommendations to the Governor about how to reopen the economy efficiently and safely. They’ve been asked to divide the recommendations into “immediate, intermediate, and long-term.”

Some of the key stats laid out by agency heads include:

Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)

  • 276 cases reported at the height of response on April 14th
  • 5,028 hospital beds available statewide
    • 2.8% decrease in bed utilization rate since March 23rd
  • 43,111 tests conducted in SC
    • 12,681 Public Health Lab (PHL) tests performed
      • No backlog in tests and there is a 24-48 hour turnaround time
    • Sample numbers submitted to PHL down 34.9% since April 1st

SC Department of Education (SDE)

  • Remote learning: when teachers were asked what portion of their students they had communicated with, SDE received the following responses:
    • 17% - all of my students
    • 44% - 75%-99% of my students
    • 19% - 50%-74% of my students
    • 12% - 25%-49% of my students
    • 9% - 0-24% of my students
  • School districts are using three methods to deliver instruction:
    • eLearning: 28% of students & 19 districts
    • Paper packets: 8% of students & 17 districts
    • Blended (mix of eLearning & paper packets): 63% of students & 45 districts

Department of Parks Recreation & Tourism (PRT)

  • The Leisure and Hospitality industry lost 459,000 jobs in March (one-month change)
  • SC Tourism revenue has gone down drastically over the last month and a half:
    • Week of 3/14 down 21%
    • Week of 3/22 down 62%
    • Week of 3/28 down 79%
    • Week of 4/4 down 84%
    • Week of 4/11 down 87%
  • Hotel occupancy has gone down significantly but saw a slight uptick last week:
    • Week of 4/11 down 71.2%
    • Week of 4/18 down 67.0% (up from 71.2% previous week)

Task Force Survey: The SC Chamber and SC Department of Commerce have developed a survey, which the task force will use to seek critically needed data to make important decisions during the next 30 days. We value your input and ask that you please take 5 minutes to answer the survey. It will remain open until Thursday, April 30th

3. SCDEW Releases Updated Unemployment Numbers

Unemployment Numbers: Yesterday, the SCDEW released the newest unemployment claims data for the state, and the agency provided the Chamber with a breakdown of claims by industry sectors. This week showed the first decrease in initial claims numbers since mid-March.

Many employers continue to be concerned that the increase in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits due to the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC, aka the extra $600 per week from the CARES Act), will lead to problems when businesses get back up-and-running. Many employees are getting paid more in South Carolina since filing for unemployment than they were making in their job. This will be problematic as some employees may not choose to return to work until they have exhausted their UI benefits, a term that Director Dan Ellzey called "recall resistance"

For the week ending April 18th, 2020: the number of initial intrastate applications (within the state) was 73,116, a decrease of 14,570 from the previous week’s count of 87,686. 

The five counties with the highest claim numbers are:

  • Greenville (8,894)
  • Horry (7,867)
  • Charleston (6,134)
  • Spartanburg (5,457)
  • Richland (4,898)

The chart below shows the percent change in initial claims within the top 10 industry sectors (using North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) two-digit codes) for initial claims filed from March 15th to April 18th. (Click the image for a larger version)

These top 10 sectors represent nearly 90.9% of claims submitted with a known industry sector.

It is important to note that the data includes claims related to COVID-19 as well as unrelated claims. This data set does not include applications that do not have a known industry code or where an industry code is pending. This issue can happen if someone self-employed or an independent contractor is filing the claim, their last employer was out-of-state, or their employer filed on their behalf.

Click here to view the complete data set.

ICYMI – SCDEW Webinar for Employers: Yesterday, SCDEW also presented a webinar to discuss the agency’s COVID-19 resources for employers. Businesses were able to submit questions in advance, and many of them were addressed during the online session.  

Yesterday’s webinar is available to view here, and DEW will be releasing an updated FAQ next week.