Alarming national job outlook may be mirrored in Horry

By Brandon Herring - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Claims for unemployment benefits jumped by an alarming amount in the last full week of June, according to some American economists.

According to the United States Labor Department the number of people filing jobless claims rose by 13,000 people.  The claims jumped from 459,000 on June 19, to 472,000 on June 26. A dramatic rise like that has some economists worried the country is not pulling out of the recession as quickly as they thought.

"It looked like it was starting to pick up, but it went down again," Isaac Maya said, who was at the Coastal Workforce center in Conway looking for a job Thursday.

Maya lost his job in construction on Wednesday. He said he thought the beginning of 2010 looked promising because Horry County's unemployment rate improved for four straight months. However, his company apparently was still struggling.

"Two months ago two people got laid off," Maya said. "A month after that another person got laid off. Yesterday it was me."

Sheila Daniels at the Coastal Workforce Center says Horry County seemed to be following the pattern seen at the national level, but the job outlook grew stagnant in June.

"I think it's kind of come to a standstill," Daniels said. "I think the Census hired a good many people, and now those people are being laid off. Then also everyone's pretty much hired for the tourism positions. So it's kind of leveled off."

According to Daniels, construction is one area in particular where jobs are still being cut, especially now that the home buyer credit has ended. In addition to Maya, this is a scenario Darren Sickler has also seen.

"I've been out of work for over a year, and the construction business has died out around here," Sickler said. "If you go down Ocean Boulevard on the beach, you'll see hotels half renovated and stopped and new ventures putting up new buildings and their half built."

Public jobs are also on the chopping block as governments try to trim their budgets.

Daniels says jobs in the private sector may be the only hope for growth right now. She said the new Walmart being built in Garden City is expected to create 400 new jobs.

"I'm hoping 'cause I got five kids and I got to put some food on the table for them," Maya said. "I'm hoping to get something."

While the job outlook appears to mirror the national figures, the official unemployment rate for Horry County in June will not be released for approximately another two weeks.

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