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Dean Grissett clutches a paper towel as he talks about facing an uncertain future after losing his two jobs. Grissett has an apartment, but can't afford rent. He had prepped food in a seafood restaurant in Myrtle Beach and helped paint houses to add to his income. He relies on the Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach for meals. The facility started the takeout program on Wednesday, March 18. Breakfast is served 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m. and lunch is served 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Each person at the Mr. Joe White Avenue facility is given a boxed meal and asked to take the meal off the premises. The facility is closed on Saturday and Sunday. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

For the second straight week, Horry County led the state in the number of unemployment claims filed, according to data released Thursday by the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW).

A week after more than 5,200 people in the county filed for unemployment, that number jumped 9,672 for the week ending March 28, according to SCDEW’s records. Statewide, nearly 65,000 filed for benefits.

To understand how staggering these numbers are, consider that for the first week in March, 99 people filed claims for unemployment benefits in Horry County. The next week, 112 did. 

Last week, that number soared to 5,258 — the most of any county in South Carolina. This week’s total nearly doubled that amount.

The skyrocketing unemployment comes as the tourism-dependent county grapples with the economic slowdown from the coronavirus crisis. State and local officials have closed dine-in restaurants, hotels and most non-essential businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.

Check back for updates.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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