MYRTLE BEACH — Employment in Myrtle Beach rose by 3 percent from August to September as the workforce in Horry County dwindled to more than 142,000, according to figures released by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
The SCDEW released its monthly employment figures last week that showed Horry County's workforce dropped from 149,080 in August to 142,464 in September, as did the unemployment rate, which dipped from 8.3 percent in August to 6 percent in September.
In Georgetown County, the workforce shrunk to 26,174 in September from 27,012 in August. But, that's an increase from 25,643 a year ago. Unemployment in Georgetown County dropped from 8.1 percent in August to 5.8 percent in September.
Wes Clark, a professor in economics at Horry Georgetown Technical College, said September's figures are a mixed bag of good and bad numbers.
"It is good to see the statewide unemployment rate coming down," he said referring to September's rate of 5.1 percent to August's 6.4. "But still way up from last year."
Last year's unemployment rate for September was slightly below 3 percent.
Clark said although Horry County's rate is down from August, it's up about 2 1/2 times from last year's 2.3 percent. Also concerning is that the workforce has dropped by about 1,000 for the county from last year.
"What I do not like here is the drop in the workforce," Clark said. "The Myrtle Beach area is not as bad. Employment is up almost 3 percent from August but down over 10 percent from last year."
He said the Myrtle Beach region has leveled a bit this year, but still far from last year's numbers.
"If you add in North Myrtle Beach and Conway though, employment (is up) 1.37 percent and down 10.36 percent from last year," Clark said.