CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina's unemployment rate improved for the fifth month in a row in January, according to new figures released by the state's Department of Employment and Workforce on Thursday. The statewide rate dropped .4 percent from December to 10.5 percent in January.
Horry County's rate got worse, increasing from 13.1 percent to 13.4 percent.
While the new figures could certainly be better some job seekers are feeling optimistic about spring.
"It seems like people are starting to feel a little more optimistic," commented Tammy Heinle. "People who have businesses here are starting to see a little money come back in where business had been really bad."
Heinle said she is also trying to feel better about her job hunt. She hopes the state's improvement is a good sign.
With some new businesses opening in the Grand Strand other job hunters are optimistic too.
"With everything coming up here soon I'm looking forward to hopefully being able to get some work," said Brandi Andrews.
H.H. Gregg is opening an electronics and appliance store this spring, creating about 50 new jobs. New tourist attractions will also create jobs by summer. Wonderworks is hiring 120 people. The SkyWheel and Land Shark restaurant will have 50 to 70 new people, and Celebration Music Theater in Surfside created 63 new jobs. Legends in Concert and Pirates Voyage may also add to their previous staff numbers.
Andrews hopes those jobs will open soon.
"March is the perfect time to hire," she said. "If you have someone who doesn't know what they're doing, March is the perfect time to start training."
While Andrews and others are happy to hear about the jobs, they worry many of them will be seasonal or part time. We already know most of the SkyWheel and Land Shark jobs will be part time.
"If you do go there and get a job you have to think about when the season's over with will they keep you or let you go," explained Frieda Brown.
Heinle also said those jobs will be great opportunities for some people. However, she is not sure any of them will be what she needs.
"I was an office manager and to be able to find the job that I need with the income that I would need it's a little harder, but I'm trying to be optimistic," Heinle said.
Several places are now planning jobs fairs in the next few weeks. Wonderworks is having one next Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food Lion has planned a job fair at the Coastal Workforce Center in Conway. The city of Myrtle Beach is hosting senior job and volunteer fair on the 30th. Organizers are still accepting businesses to participate if they are looking for new workers or volunteers. H.H. Gregg will also soon have Myrtle Beach job opening listed on hhgreggjobs.com.