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Georgetown economy enters pain management mode

The economy in Georgetown has ground to a near halt, but economic officials said they are making plans for weathering the storm in 2009.

The slowdown in the housing industry has caused layoffs at some industries in Georgetown County, said Economic Development Director Wayne Gregory.

ArcelorMittal Steel closed during the month of December and the International Paper Co. shuttered some machines due to a lack of orders.

"The recession has impacted our county revenues in that fewer permits are being issued so we are receiving fewer fee revenues," Gregory said. "We hope that we will have a strong tourist season this year, but many experts in the tourism field anticipate numbers to be down."

Coastal Carolina University predicted that the situation won't improve until late 2009.

"Georgetown County is doing all that we can to help get through the slump," Gregory said. "We have reduced budgets and spending in an effort to make it through these difficult times. Our existing industry program has always been a cornerstone of our economic development efforts. Today there has never been a greater emphasis on helping local companies remain competitive."