Residents struggling under Horry County's low wages - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Residents struggling under Horry County's low wages

HGTC Cosmetology class (Source: WMBF News) HGTC Cosmetology class (Source: WMBF News)
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A national survey from the United States Department of Labor shows Horry County ranks low compared to national average. 

The numbers show the weekly average for a working person here in Horry County is 610 dollars. The national average in the fourth quarter of 2014 is 1,035 dollars a week. 

Not everyone is surprised to see the numbers or to learn the county fell to the bottom of the list.. they say it comes back to a couple of factors.

Robert Salvino, a business and economics professor at Coastal Carolina University says the survey takes seasonal wages, and stretches them for the year, not necessarily taking into account the fact that this is a tourism driven economy, and some people may only be working 4 to 6 months a year. Salvino pointed out even though other places like Orlando, Florida, may seem tourist driven, they are actually year round destinations, or close to big cities for people to live and commute to work.

An organization geared to counteract these factors, The MBREDC says it's important to remember the work force here is still growing.

"I think the way to do that, is to recruit jobs here that are not associated with the tourism economy. The tourism economy is great, but it's market driven like anything else, so if we get higher paying jobs here, that will help everyone out," MBREDC Chairman Fred Richardson said.

Even though these numbers are low, some see them as inspiration, inspiration to work even harder.

Darmonica Brown is a cosmetology student at Horry Georgetown Tech but she isn't necessarily a full time student.

"After school, I go to work," Brown explained. 

Growing up, Brown says she's always knew she wanted to do hair and to get through school, she quickly learned she'd need to work.

"I know I have two jobs, so I can make more money," Brown said. 

Brown is also a manager at a local Chick-fil-A.  Brown wasn't surprised by the survey's numbers.

"Because now that I'm getting older and I'm about to move out of my parents house, I need more money so minimum wage isn't going to work, with just .. one," she explained. 

Brown graduates from cosmetology school next week and she couldn't be more excited to start doing what she loves for more money and she isn't alone.

"A lot of people are going to school, to get a career, and get a higher-end job, than just in a restaurant," Brown said. 

After graduation, Brown says she will still work two jobs until someday fulfilling her dream, and opening up her own salon. 

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