Myrtle Beach area unemployment flat from April to May

The unemployment rate in Horry County stayed flat in May at 5.5 percent, one of just three counties where the rate didn’t go up, according to figures released Friday from the state Department of Employment and Workforce.

At the same time that unemployment rose in 43 counties, DEW said the statewide rate remained steady at 5.3 percent.

This is possible because DEW rounds the unemployment statistics to the nearest tenth of a point when reporting the numbers.

If you take the state rate to four decimal places, you find that it was 5.2859 percent and 5.316 percent in May. Both would round to 5.3 percent.

Horry’s rate, including four decimal places, was 5.4599 percent in April and 5.4918 percent in May.

The overall workforce and number without jobs in Horry County increased by approximately 4,000 people who were either at work or seeking employment in May.

Given that, there is nothing unusual or unexpected in the static rate, said Rob Salvino, an economist at Coastal Carolina University.

“it seems to be just normal movement,” he said.

Salvino surmised that Horry’s May unemployment rate was largely influenced by more jobs in the hospitality industry and fewer in construction. The county’s plunge in lot sales in May would point to the loss of construction jobs, he said.

The 4,000 new faces in the workforce, he said, likely are mostly high school and college students looking for summer employment.