Tourism offseason brings higher jobless rate for Myrtle Beach area

The jobless rate in the Myrtle Beach area ticked up as expected in October as tourism businesses shed jobs headed into the slower winter season, according to statistics released Tuesday.

Horry County’s unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent last month, up from 8.8 percent in September, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. Despite the uptick, the rate is better than the 10.9 percent rate in October 2011.

Georgetown County’s rate held steady last month at 8.1 percent. Statewide, the jobless rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 9.1 percent in September. The rate nationally is 7.9 percent.

The uptick in Horry County is likely because of the post-summer decline in hospitality jobs. Statewide, the leisure and hospitality sector dropped 400 jobs in October, with most of those losses along the tourism-centric coast.

About 114,616 Horry County residents were employed in October, down from 115,295 in September.

Statewide, government added 5,100 jobs, the most jobs of any sector, thanks to increases in local and state education services, according to the workforce department. Trade, transportation and utilities added 1,900 jobs, financial services added 1,300 jobs, education and health services added 1,200 jobs and construction added 900 jobs.

Allendale County had the highest jobless rate in the state at 16.6 percent, followed by Marion County at 16 percent. Lexington County had the state’s lowest rate at 6.3 percent.