Rising gas prices could cripple seasonal job market

Gas prices continue to be in the back of everyone's mind, and with prices expected to increase into the summer months, it could hurt what little recovery our economy has seen

Thursday at the Myrtle Beach Mall, the North Myrtle Beach Chamber held a job fair where hundreds of people applied for more than 250 jobs.

59-year-old Conway resident Lynn Sutherland just wants one.

"I don't even care anymore," said Sutherland, "Just a job." She doesn't care anymore because she's been out of work for more than three years.

While employers took the time to look over Sutherland's resume, they also keep looking over their shoulder at rising gas prices. With more money going toward fuel, it could mean they have less money to hire new employees.

"It will affect the businesses in North Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand," said supermarket owner Frank Boulineu's. "So we look at that and base our hiring on gas prices."

Over the past month, gas prices in our area jumped more than 20 cents. On Thursday, the average price for a gallon of gas in Myrtle Beach cost $3.58.

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber President Brad Dean said if that rising trend continues, it could affect the economy's recovery.

"When it gets up around 4 dollars, people start re-thinking their travel plans," said Dean.

But Coastal Carolina University economic expert Rob Salvino put the mark when employers and consumers cut back a little higher.

"If we start approaching five dollars and above that, then I think that will have a negative impact on economic growth," said Salvino.

And it's those prices around that five dollar mark that Sutherland hopes she doesn't see.

"All you can do is hope that it's better tomorrow," said Sutherland.