Jobs promised in Horry County take time, leaders argue

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Last year, five companies promised to bring more than 400 jobs to Horry County, but hundreds of those jobs are yet be developed.

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation works with city and county councils to give tax breaks to businesses to encourage them to bring jobs to the state’s largest county.

Kim Mercier moved to Myrtle Beach in September to take a job as a quality control specialist for Kingman Airlines.

“I saw that as a terrific opportunity to get back to the east coast, back to an area of the country I love. So, I’ve been here ever since,” said Mercier.

Kingman Airlines announced in 2016 it was bringing 180 jobs to Horry County, but and since then, they’ve only filled 34.

Josh Kay, president of Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development, says the process takes times, and every job a company promises to bring, won’t happen overnight.

“That’s kind of one of the misnomers or misconceptions that most folks have is that when a company announces 100 jobs, they’re not going to create those jobs in the first 30 days,” expresses Kay.

Part of Kay’s job is to lure large companies to Horry County and bring jobs for those in the area.

“You’ve got companies that are moving aggressively, very fast, but again, you also have companies that, because depending on what the market does, they’re able to go up and down,” says Kay.in 2016, five companies partnered with the corporation and promised to bring 422 jobs, but so far only 98 have been filled.

In 2016, five companies partnered with the corporation and promised to bring 422 jobs, but so far only 98 have been filled.

“When he brings an industry in and says we’re going to hire 200 employees, then people get disappointed because those 200 employees were not hired today,” says Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes. “You have to build the businesses in order to justify the hiring of the 200 employees.”

Mayor Rhodes says the organization depends on funds from city and county council, and in order to push the promised investments along, council has to give economic development full support.

“If they ask for some things that we might be able to do for to help that along, we’re going to do everything we can to help promote it and to help give them benefits,” confirms Rhodes.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus agrees and says he’s also working as a board member alongside Senator Luke Rankin in the Northeastern Strategic Alliance to attract and keep new investments in Horry County.

“Putting us on those two important positions gives us a better voice within NESA, which helps us to go to Columbia with a bigger voice, working with commerce which we’ve got great relationships with. It just strengthens those ties for us,” explains Lazarus.

Of the jobs promised to come to Horry County over the past five years, 62% of those jobs have been filled, says Kay. He adds that the group works on a five year plan, so they hope to have all the jobs promised in 2016, filled within the next five years.