MYRTLE BEACH — Horry and Georgetown counties were no exception as the unemployment rate for May rose all across the state, with the statewide rate increasing for the first time in 10 months.
In Horry County, the rate rose 0.4 percentage points from April to 9.9 percent and in Georgetown County it rose 0.5 percentage points to 9.5 percent, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday.
Statewide, the unemployment rate in May rose 0.3 percentage points from April to 9.1 percent. April’s 8.8 percent was the lowest in more than three years. The rate in May only dropped in two counties in the state, York and Marlboro.
Although 4,291 more people are now employed since last month in Horry and Georgetown counties, 5,534 new people started looking for jobs causing the rate to rise.
Rob Salvino, a research economist at Coastal Carolina University, says that during peak tourist season more people enter the work force.
“It’s part of the seasonal aspect when substantial hiring takes place during tourist season. So people see that and join the labor force again and start looking for a job. Their work situation hasn’t changed, but now they are considered unemployed,” said Salvino.
South Carolina has the seventh highest unemployment rate in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is behind Nevada (11.6 percent), Rhode Island (11 percent), California (10.8 percent), North Carolina (9.4 percent), District of Columbia (9.3 percent) and New Jersey (9.2 percent).
The national rate increased slightly in May to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April.
“If you look at South Carolina as a whole we are extremely diverse with unemployment rates,” said Joey Von Nessen, a research economist with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. “If you look at the urban areas such as Myrtle Beach or Charleston, the unemployment rate is closer to 7 percent, which is a whole point below the national average. If you look at the more rural areas of the state it’s closer to 15 or 16 percent in the counties.”
Von Nessen said he doesn’t think there will be a substantial change in the unemployment rate over the upcoming months.
“I think it’s going to hover close to where it is now. We are having unemployment growth but it just hasn’t been enough to overpower those gains to the labor force,” he said.
The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce says it stays determined to helping more people find jobs across the state.
“We are encouraged that people are entering the labor force searching for employment, and DEW continues to remain focused on putting South Carolinians back to work,” Abraham Turner, the executive director of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce, said in a press release.
Contact BILLY CROSBY at 626-0310.