MYRTLE BEACH — Grand Strand and statewide jobless rates dropped in September, which local officials say is because schools opened for the fall, so more people were hired for education jobs.
In September, Horry County’s jobless rate was 8.8. percent, down 0.6 percentage points from 9.4 percent in August, and down 1.9 percentage points from 10.7 percent in September 2011, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported Friday.
Georgetown County’s jobless rate was 8.2 percent in September, down 0.9 percentage points from 9.1 percent in August, according to the report. Georgetown County’s unemployment rate dropped 2.2 percentage points in September from 10.4 percent in the same month last year.
The increase in jobs, and decline in unemployment in September was expected for the Grand Strand because a lot of hiring takes place for the schools that’s not needed in the summer, said Rob Salvino, a research economist at Coastal Carolina University.
That is even more so for Georgetown County than for tourism-fueled Horry County, which had an increase in jobs year over year, but had less people employed in September than in the previous month.
Georgetown County had 450 more people employed in September than in August, while Horry County had 2,145 less people employed in September than in August, according to the report.
“This shows Georgetown County has more than tourism as a major composition of its workforce,” Salvino said.
For Horry County, the dip is normal because summer tourism jobs have ended, Salvino said.
The growth in the education sector is enough to offset the lack of tourism jobs in Georgetown County, but it is not enough to offset the decline from August to September in Horry County, he said.
Statewide, the education and health services sector added 3,300 jobs from August to September, while leisure and hospitality lost 5,800 jobs as the summer season ended, according to the report.
Other sectors also added jobs in the state from August in September. The government sector added 15,500 jobs, and manufacturing added 400 jobs.
During the past year, education and health services have been bright spots for job creation in the state. Education and health services added 6,600 jobs from September 2011 to September 2012, making it the sector with the largest job growth, according to the report. Manufacturing employment also has grown in the past year, having added 5,500 jobs from September 2011 to September 2012.
The Grand Strand has recently landed some of those manufacturing jobs. BauschLinnemann North America, a producer of surfaces and edge bandings for furniture makers, plans to bring 55 manufacturing jobs next year to a new facility the company is building off Harrelson Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. Local economic development officials announced the move in August.
The state’s overall jobless rate continues to improve, falling from 10.2 percent in September 2011 to 9.1 percent last month, which is also down from 9.6 percent in August. Nationally, the unemployment rate declined from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September, adding 873,000 jobs, according to the report. Of those jobs added, an estimated 582,000 were part-time jobs.
“Today’s announcement about the drop in the unemployment rate is a welcome change,” S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Abraham J. Turner said in the report released Friday. “In September, we saw the largest over-the-month employment increase since January 2007.”
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.