As York County residents celebrated Labor Day on Monday, some said they had lost jobs in a weakened economy. Others were hampered by inflated food prices and fluctuating gas prices.
On a holiday weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer, some local residents said high prices and a struggling economy curbed their summer fun.
High gas prices forced Tinsel Alexander to change her plans.
"I was not able to take my kids on vacation this summer," said Alexander, 34, a Cherry Road convenience store assistant manager. "I wanted to go to New York, but gas was too expensive."
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The Rock Hill mother of three settled for a three-day retreat to Charleston, returning to work Labor Day at the store. Outside, gas prices ranged from $3.49 for regular to $3.79 for premium.
The cost of fuel also kept Teffiany Fields home.
"We were supposed to go to New Jersey last weekend," said Fields, 23, an assistant teacher at York Technical College's child development center. "Due to gas prices, we had to cancel our trip."
Fields is optimistic that come October she can drive to Orlando, Fla.
"Hopefully, gas prices will be down then so it won't cost too much," she said while preparing to pump gas. "It takes a lot to fill up and get on the road."
On Sunday, the state average for unleaded gas was $3.51, while the national average was $3.68, according to SouthCarolinaGasPrices.com. A year ago, motorists in South Carolina paid $2.55 per gallon while the national average was $2.78.
That didn't stop John Yankech, a 35-year-old Fort Mill man.
"The economy did not affect my summer vacation," said Yankech, who vacationed at Cherry Grove with family. "It did, however, affect me in the spring as I was laid off my job."
Yankech, who did environmental restoration work, said his family was able to manage due to his wife's job. During the summer, he took some classes at Winthrop University in pursuit of his degree.
Unemployment in York and Chester counties rose during the summer.
In July, York County's jobless rate was 6.8 percent, up from 6.6 percent in June, according to the S.C. Employment Security Commission. In neighboring Chester County, unemployment was 11.8 percent in July, up from 10.6 percent in June.
Faced with fewer job opportunities and higher prices, some Rock Hill residents made do with less expensive fun.
Dale Wright, 43, of Rock Hill usually drives to meet family in Virginia. Not this summer, he said. "We got a season pass for a pool and Carowinds tickets and stayed local," he said.
Dennis Daley, 36, of Charlotte and his wife ran shopping errands at Target and gassed up in Rock Hill on Monday.
"We planned on going to New Jersey, but gas prices just completely killed it." Instead, "We hit the pool a couple times and had some friends over," he said.
The Daleys appreciate that gas is cheaper in Rock Hill compared to Charlotte. Greg Chisolm, 35, said gas and food prices made him more frugal, too.
"We cut back on going out to the movies and eating out," said Chisolm, of Rock Hill.
But Troy Lumsden, 36, who works in construction, said he and his wife weren't bothered by the economy.
"It hasn't changed any plans that we had to go anywhere or do anything. Business has been good," Lumsden said as he strapped his infant in a car seat.
Justin Melton, of Charlotte, who visits Rock Hill about six times a week, said he gave up a trip to Myrtle Beach.
"I'm supposed to be down there right now," he said Monday. "I just spent so much money on gas from Charlotte to Rock Hill. I just didn't have time to save. It didn't work out like I planned."