Lancaster Co. posts lowest unemployment numbers in nearly a deca - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Lancaster Co. posts lowest unemployment numbers in nearly a decade

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LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) -

The unemployment rate in Lancaster County has plunged by more than half of what it was just 5 years ago.

In 2009, the jobless rate in the county peaked at 18.6%, but now that number now sits at 7.7%.

521 Bar-B-Q and Grill owner Michael Dial has seen it all in Lancaster County.

"There was nothing here when we opened and my wife told me I was an idiot," said Dial.

He opened his restaurant in 2005 and has dealt with the ups and downs of the economy.

Back in 2009, some of the county's biggest textile and manufacturing plants closed, sending the unemployment rate soaring close to 20%.

"In January of 2009, it was like they turned off the light switch and everything went away, but we survived," said Dial.

"Forbes magazine named us the most economically vulnerable community in America community in 2009," said Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation President Keith Tunnell.

But now Lancaster County's unemployment rate has gone from laughable to respectable.

According to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, Lancaster County's unemployment currently sits at 7.7%.

County economic officials credit bringing in more than 50 new high employing companies over the past 8 years.

Tunnell says one of the biggest reasons for the county's comeback is the growth of Indian Land and with more white collar jobs coming in, he says diversity is key to a stable economy.

"We don't ever want to be again a one industry community. It worked well for 120 years, but when they left, they left a crater," said Tunnell.

As for Dial, he says more companies coming to town means a boost for his bottom line.

"Lancaster County is just business friendly. They're not hard to deal with, so come on down and open something up," said Dial.

In fact, business is doing so well, Dial is opening a second location next week in Tega Cay.

According to the South Carolina Department of employment and workforce, statewide, the unemployment rate dipped below the national average for the first time since 2001.

It currently sits at 6.6%.

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