Clyburn: Sanford masking unemployment with stimulus funds debate

Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn says while Governor Mark Sanford continues his tug of water with the state legislature over $700 million in stimulus money unemployment in the state continues to rise at an alarming rate. South Carolina’s unemployment rate reached 11 percent in February. Clyburn accuses Sanford of using the issue of the stimulus money to mask his inability to get a handle on the unemployment problem the state faces. Clyburn says he is particularly concerned about a number of areas in his district.
“I know at least two counties in our state that’s over 22 percent unemployment, Marion County which is in my district, has got 22 percent unemployment and Allendale County next to Bamberg, that’s in my district, has 23.9 percent unemployment. I think at the height of the Great Depression the unemployment rate was 24 percent, so these are depression numbers.”
According to the South Carolina Employment Security Commission, the statewide unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in February 2008.
Clyburn says he hopes that Sanford finally decides to accept the stimulus money so that a number persons, especially teachers, are not added to the unemployment rolls that are likely to grow well into the summer. “If you’re at 11 percent unemployment, who are those people? We weren’t at 11 percent unemployment last year this time, and the figures indicate that we are second only to Michigan and that we have theĀ  fastestĀ  growing unemployment rate in the country.”
Clyburn says Sanford must come to grips that far too many citizens in the state are losing their livelihoods and their homes and that the stimulus money will help a number of persons remain gainfully employed.