422 jobs announced in Horry County in 2016, hundreds left to fill

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Five companies, Frontier Communications, Executive Helijet, Kingman Airlines, Benton Media and Ebtron, announced 422 new jobs in Horry County in 2016.

“We feel like that’s a strong year,” said Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation (MBREDC) President and CEO, Josh Kay. “It’s probably the second strongest year that the EDC has had in its existence.”

Kay said many of the job announcements came from existing industry expansions.

“These are businesses that are already here in Horry County and they were able to stay in Horry County and grow,” he added.

One of those companies was Frontier Communications. It announced 90 new jobs in 2012 but was able to hire 132 people. It then expanded in 2016 to add 40 new people.

“Our focus on is a couple of target markets,” said Kay. “The aviation and aerospace sector is one market, advanced manufacturing is another market, I.T. office-type operations is another market.”

But in 2017, Kay said the MBREDC wants to focus on healthcare.

“We’re not trying to recruit hospitals or doctors offices,” he said, “but healthcare-related industries. Whether that be medical device manufacturing, or healthcare information technology or information management services. Those types of ancillary businesses that fall in line with the healthcare industry. We feel like we’ve got a strong market for that.”

However, Kay said it’s hard to predict how business will fill the jobs they announce.

“Unfortunately, there are businesses, just like any other business, that over a period of time businesses change, environments change, products change, customers change,” he added. “So that forces some businesses to restrict or contract or even close their doors and that’s unfortunate.”

Click the chart below to read how companies announced in the last 5 years are filling their promised jobs.

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“Probably the biggest misconception is that when we announce a company, all of those companies are not going to immediately go out and hire 65 or 100 people,” said Kay. “Those are 5 year growth projections.”

About 22% of the jobs announced in 2016 have been filled. Overall, 62% of announced jobs have been filled in the past five years, but the chart above leaves off three companies that announced jobs in 2012 and 2013. Those three companies are AvCraft, Ithaca Gun Company and Elm Street Associates, which announced a combined 321 jobs.

Kay said Ithaca Gun Company and Elm Street Associates never came to Horry County after their announcements. AvCraft came to the county but declared bankruptcy in 2015.