South Carolina’s “jobs” agency has been literally one disaster after another since S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley took over.

Need a refresher on this rampant incompetence?  Click here.  Need a refresher on how the agency’s leadership is “addressing” these issues? Click here … and here.

By any measure, Haley’s S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) has consistently been among the most inefficient and ineffective agencies in her administration – a cost that has keeps being passed on to South Carolina businesses and taxpayers.  In fact its chronic failure has been exposed this year via a state auditfederal warning and a legislative study.

One of the most troubling statistics uncovered in this deluge of depressing data?  The fact that it takes job seekers who use this glorified placement agency longer to find work than if they had gone it alone.  As of this spring South Carolinians who used SCDEW’s reemployment services took an average of 26.5 weeks to get off of the public dole.  Those who did not use SCDEW took only 22.3 weeks – further evidence that government (particularly our ass-backward state government) has no business whatsoever being involved in the job placement industry.

That statistic is even more depressing when you consider that Haley has invested heavily in promoting SCDEW as a resource for job placement.

Anyway … one reason why SCDEW is having so much trouble could be relatively simple: Its employees refuse to pick up the telephone.

According to internal agency documents obtained by FITS, callers to SCDEW offices are being sent to voicemail at a prodigious clip.  In fact according to an internal memo distributed back in June by the agency’s assistant director for unemployment insurance – some SCDEW branches were sending callers to voicemail more than 91 percent of the time.

“Voicemail is not meant as a replacement for answering the phone,” the SCDEW bureaucrat scolded staff in the memo. “Rather, it is a convenience for the caller to be able to leave a message when you are on the phone or away from your desk. As you will see from the numbers … that is not how voicemail is being used in some offices now. Voicemail appears to be being used as an alternative to answering the phones in some offices.”

Here were some of the statistics included in the memo we obtained …

Florence UI – 3% of the phone calls received were answered; 91% went to voicemail
Lancaster UI – 10% answered; 71% to voicemail
Orangeburg UI – 26% answered; 70% to voicemail
Moncks Corner UI – 12% answered; 49% to voicemail
Summerville UI – 13% answered; 37% to voicemail
Greenwood UI – 54% answered; 23% to voicemail
Greenville UI – 29% answered;21% to voicemail
Spartanburg UI – 46% answered; 13% to voicemail
Dillon UI – 71% answered (this is the highest of all of these); 24% to voicemail

The SCDEW bureaucrat indicated she was “dismayed” by the high volume of calls being sent to voicemail, and instructed her staff to make sure that such a dismal performance was “never repeated.”

Last year, Haley made headlines when she issued an edict requiring members of her cabinet agency to answer the telephone by saying “It’s a great day in South Carolina.”

This is certainly a creative way of getting around that requirement …