Workforce Development Programs & Workforce Agency

South Carolina’s workforce is touted as one of the most productive in the country and that translates to both Horry County and Myrtle Beach.

Horry County and Myrtle Beach offer a plethora of workforce development and training programs that assist companies in hiring and retaining the most qualified talent in the region.

South Carolina workers are highly-skilled, reliable, and experienced in a variety of fields, and area colleges and universities ensure there is a steady stream of educated graduates ready to work.

South Carolina is ranked No. 3 for competitive labor costs and No. 5 for workforce development programs by Area Development magazine.

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Cooperation (MBREDC) serves as a resource for location and expansion assistance to new and existing industries across Horry County. The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan (2016) identifies three areas for the MBREDC to focus, including:

• Recruit and retain high-quality industries in order to generate jobs for the citizens of Horry County;

• Provide a variety of high-quality economic development “products” in which new and existing industries can locate and/or expand; and

• The MBREDC being recognized as a leader in economic development within Horry County and throughout South Carolina.

The Strategic Plan identifies a variety of mechanisms for MBREDC to achieve these goals, which primarily focus on manufacturing growth.

In 2016, individuals in Horry County within the workforce was estimated to be 145,503. This means that 59% of people who are of working age are active in the workforce in Horry County, compared to 60% for South Carolina and 63.1% in the United States. This is the result of a number of factors, such as unemployment, disabled individuals who are unable to work, families with stay at home parents, and residents that retired early. It may also be an indicator that people are traveling out of the County for work and contributing to another community’s workforce.

When compared to South Carolina and the United States, Horry County has a greater percentage of participation from people of workforce age, 16 to 24 (13.1%, 13.1%, and 14.85% respectively). Similarly, Horry County has a higher percentage of the workforce over the age of 65 (5.60%, 5.81%, and 6.83% respectively). In contrast, Horry County has a smaller percentage of workforce between the ages of 25 and 64 (81.73%, 81.9%, and 78.16% respectively). The highest percentage of the active workforce is between 25 and 34 years old.

The chart opposite compares Horry County’s labor force statistics to similar counties, South Carolina, and the United States. According to this comparison, Horry County has a higher percentage of persons under the age of 65 with disabilities. In addition, Horry County has a higher percentage of persons without health insurance. Similarly, Horry County has fewer persons with a Bachelors Degree or higher in comparison to all jurisdictions in the chart above except for Volusia County, Florida. In relationship to per capita income, Horry County is lower than all comparisons, if only marginally.

Horry County’s high disability among those of workforce age, the prevalence of low paying positions, and the high numbers of those without health insurance are significantly limit- ing factors in the County’s economy. Those who lack health insurance are more likely to be financially instable. With rising costs of out-of-pocket health care, any illness or injury can truly impact an individual’s ability to maintain work and can severely strain a family’s finances. These limitations create a scenario where a fragile population lives paycheck-to-paycheck or is only a few paychecks away from homelessness or economic destitution.

Horry County needs to focus on economic growth on higher paid skilled jobs to help mitigate instability. In addition to maintaining low costs of living, focus on affordable housing is necessary. Staving off economic destitution will also deter crime amongst residents.

The region boasts strong projected population growth and overall high workforce participation among working age adults. However, age, income, and educational statistics are in line or below state averages, which may limit more highly skilled workforce requirements. While historic and projected occupational growth statistics are favorable, overall concentration and counts of key occupational sectors in the region are relatively low and again may hinder opportunities in the manufacturing and distribution space.

There is higher underemployment in the region compared to the state overall, which is an opportunity for companies to leverage those latent workers and skills. However, that is in large part contingent upon continued and enhanced interaction between employers, local training institutions, and the community at large.