The South Carolina Labor Force Participation Task Force Has Officially Commenced

South Carolina invites subject matter experts to a roundtable to dig into what drives the state’s labor force participation rate so that organizations and stakeholders statewide can create data-driven solutions.

Columbia, S.C. – The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) has launched the South  Carolina Labor Force Participation Task Force (the Task Force) today, Wednesday, March 23, 2022. 

“South Carolina has recovered strongly from the challenges caused by COVID-19 and we have record numbers of people working in the state. If we look at quit, resignation, and hire rates within the state, we see people shifting between jobs and trying new careers,” states DEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey.  “However, with more than 100,000 posted jobs in the SC Works Online Services (SCWOS) database,  businesses are still struggling from staff shortages and our labor force participation rate is one of the lowest in the nation. A higher participation rate increases the wealth of a state. We need to know the root causes of our low participation rate before we can truly make any improvements. This is why the Task Force is so  critical at this time.”  

This effort by the Department of Employment and Workforce is in collaboration with the S.C. Council on Competitiveness, state agencies, businesses, and institutes of higher education.  

Today’s meeting marks the first of many to come. The Task Force plans to continue to meet throughout the spring and summer of this year with the goal of releasing findings in the fall.  

The Task Force is comprised of various leaders from academia, research, and business who have united to conduct a multifaceted analysis of South Carolina’s labor market. Members of the Task Force include: 

  • Dr. Aspen Gorry, Clemson University 
  • Dr. Orgul Ozturk, University of South Carolina 
  • Dr. Frank Hefner, College of Charleston 
  • Dr. Laura Ullrich, Federal Reserve 
  • Ron Hetrick, EMSI 
  • Dr. Chris Chmura, Chmura Economics 
  • Julia Pollak, ZipRecruiter 
  • Dr. Kory Kantenga, LinkedIn 
  • John Uprichard, CEO, Find Great People 
  • Frank Rainwater, Executive Director, S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office 
  • Dr. Mike Mikota, President, Spartanburg Community College 
  • Dr. Bryan Grady, Labor Market Information Director, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Dr. Erica Von Nessen, Research Economist, S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce 

Full bios and headshots of the members can be found at

“This collective undertaking brings out the sharpest minds to ensure that our state can grow and develop  an active workforce,” states Ellzey. “The data that comes out of this research will be available to the public  and I am hopeful that it will encourage great innovation across multiple industries as to how to improve  our labor force participation rate.” 

The Task Force will analyze what is affecting South Carolina’s workforce, how labor force participation can  be increased, and help us understand whether this should be a statewide or county-by-county effort. We  encourage anyone interested in being updated on the Task Force to visit its official page at to learn more.  


About DEW: The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is putting South Carolinians to work. The agency has four missions: (1) workforce development; (2) free job match employment services; (3)  unemployment insurance; and (4) labor market information. All four missions contribute to workforce  development. The agency is dedicated to advancing South Carolina through services and programs that  meet the needs of our businesses, job seekers and those looking to advance their careers. 

About the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness: The Council is a nonpartisan, business-led non profit organization committed to advancing the long-term economic competitiveness of our state,  industries, and citizens. Our work is accomplished through actionable research on opportunities and  threats to South Carolina’s competitiveness; support of industry clusters that provide South Carolina a  competitive advantage; and education and workforce development initiatives that ensure all South  Carolina’s citizens are equipped to compete in a global economy. We execute our work through  partnerships, recognizing that our state’s economic success is secured through sustained collaboration  among the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors.

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