SC initial unemployment claims drop to lowest since mid-March, Horry County still reports high number


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Unemployment claims in South Carolina declined for the third week in a row; however, Horry County is reporting a high number of claims.

The latest report shows Horry County filing almost 500 unemployment claims. Neighboring counties like Dillon, Marion, Williamsburg, and Georgetown all filed under 100.

Initial unemployment claims in South Carolina dropped to their lowest since the pandemic hit the economy in mid-March. The decline in unemployment claims comes as the economy slowly reopens.

The latest restrictions gave theaters and entertainment venues the green light to reopen. The industry accounts for many hospitality jobs along the Grand Strand.

Governor McMaster’s latest executive order may impact the number of unemployment claims in the county dropping soon. At the GTS Theatre, the stage is lit, shows scheduled, and the cast is re-hired.

“They were so excited to be able to come back,” Elizabeth Wylde, the GTS Theatre General Manager said.

In the showcase business, it takes several people, on and off stage, to put on a show.

“We have specialized staff for sound, specialty staff for the lights,” Wylde said.

Elizabeth Wylde was able to re-hire 13 of her 19 employees after a 5-month halt in business. South Carolina’s initial unemployment claims trend downward as Governor McMaster’s latest executive orders reopen the economy.

“We do see this number is trending in the right direction. Hopefully, these are signs that the economy is opening back up employees are getting competence business is starting to thrive,” Jamie Suber, South Carolina’s Department of Employment and Workforce Chief of Staff, said.

To get the stars back on stage will take a lot of adjustment, inside the theatre and on paychecks.

“Our cast has even taken a reduction in pay right now to help forge through,” Wylde said.

Horry County is seeing a higher number of claims compared to the surrounding area. The department of employment and workforce says population, industry type, and comfort may play a part.

Meanwhile, the GTS Theatre will continue working while reopening in hopes to bring back their entire staff.

“I don’t look at it as we are the owner and they are the employees we are all in this together and that’s the biggest thing,” Wylde said.

People are encouraged to continue filing for benefits if needed. The department says retroactive payments will be made to eligible individuals if changes occur in funding amounts or programs.

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