MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Wages in Horry County rank the lowest on a list of more than 300 of the largest counties in the U.S.
Those numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which puts Horry County dead last on the list of weekly average salaries. According to the data Horry County workers take home an average of $534 per week, as compared to the national average of $935.
Economic leaders in Horry County attribute the gap to the low-paying nature of many tourism-related jobs.
Brad Lofton, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation (MBREDC), is working to bring high-paying jobs to Horry County. He says although, the new ranking is discouraging it shows more than ever that his efforts are essential.
"We've got to differentiate ourselves and diversify into those other types of opportunities that will really pay," said Lofton. Lofton's referring to jobs in aviation, manufacturing and technology.
Lofton says he has a personal goal of creating at least 500 jobs within the next 18 months. Some of those jobs are dependent on the opening of the International Technology and Aerospace Park (ITAP). Officials say the first phase should be complete by November.
MBREDC is already recruiting companies to bring job opportunities to the area ahead of ITAP's opening.
"I think you're going to see within the next 90 to 120 days some real substantial job announcements and some opportunities that'll really help folks," said Lofton.