COLUMBIA (WACH) - According to the State Department of Employment and Workforce, the number of unemployment claims in South Carolina are down.New figures released on Monday show a steady decline in the number of unemployment claims filed in the state.The data shows applications for unemployment benefits dropped by almost 3,000 claims in the past three weeks.Adrienne Fairwell with the SDEW said the downward trend in claims is a reflection of the improved economy and not a situation where people are giving up on looking for jobs."What it shows or what it means is companies are holding on to more workers. There are less lay-offs, the economic forecast for the state in general seems that there is improvement," said Fairwell.Fairwell says the new figures indicate that the state's labor force is headed in the right direction and leaves her feeling optimistic about the future."We cant predict what will happen here in the state, but we can remain hopeful that this is a good sign," said Fairwell.However - others say the decline in the number of unemployment claims could be a direct reflection of the claims process itself."The process is very slow, I was about to give up myself until somebody told me you need to take your time and just wait on it," said unemployed Columbia Resident Michell Hall."I think what the state of South Carolina has done, is just made it a little more difficult," said unemployed Columbia Resident James Springs.