For the second month in a row, the closing the Disney Direct Marketing plant in Jonesville pushed Union County’s unemployment rate higher.
The SC Department of Employment and Workforce announced this past weekend that unemployment in South Carolina rose from 10.5 percent in June to 10.9 percent in July. In Union County, the unemployment rate went from 17.3 percent to 17.5 percent, tying the county with Bamberg County for the fifth highest unemployment rate in the state.
The increase in the county’s unemployment rate was not unexpected, according Roy Lowe, center manager for Union One Stop, who attributed the rise to approximately 180 jobs lost with the closing of the Disney warehouse.
“We anticipated this, we’d already knew it was coming,” Lowe said Monday. “We’ve seen no other major layoffs as of right now.”
Lowe said a temporary agency was operating the warehouse on behalf of Disney as the company wound down its operations in Jonesville. He said the majority of the approximately 180 workers employed by the temporary agency had previously worked for Disney and were hired by the agency to assist in closing out the warehouse.
In June, the unemployment rate in Union County reached 17.3 percent, up from 16 percent in May. The increase was attributed combination of factors including college graduates attempting to join the workforce; high school students entering the job market for the summer; and the closing of the Disney plant. The plant was closed by Disney which shifted its operations to Memphis, TN. The plant was scheduled to be closed by the beginning of August, but some Disney employees were let go in June, helping push up the unemployment rate for that month.