The Labor Shortage: What It Came From and What it Means For You

Megan Leboff
Staff Writer

Hiring is much weaker than expected amidst the aftermath of COVID-19 with millions of jobs remaining unfilled, but the shortage could be a huge advantage for high school students


     I’m sure you’ve seen them around. The big “We’re Hiring!” signs hung up on the windows of every business in town. But the question is, why so many? Where did all the workers go?

     The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly caused major disruptions in economies globally, the department of labor saying it has caused 10 million job openings in the country. But all these job openings have people wondering: why can’t the people who were laid off due to covid fill those jobs?

     The answer lies in the workers themselves. Research shows that most people in the US want to do something different with their lives than what they were doing before the pandemic. The Washington Post said, “…66 percent of the unemployed had ‘seriously considered’ changing their field of work, a far greater percentage than during the Great Recession.”

       One common misconception is that workers aren’t coming back to work because the “generous” stimulus checks and unemployment payments have given them all the money they need. But research says otherwise.          

     Over labor day, 7 million Americans lost benefits, and yet there was no considerable hiring boost in September.

     So what are businesses doing to help bring in workers? Well, in order to attract workers, businesses have begun raising their wages and creating incentives. 

    For example in the hospitality industry, wages are up 18 percent, with Washington Post’s Heather Long calling it one of the biggest labor transformations since ww2. 

    Plus, chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are offering cash bonuses and other perks for people who apply in order to fill thousands of open jobs.

    So what does this mean for you? High school is a time when most students will get their first job, and gain the experience that will help them into the next step of their lives. 

   And with businesses desperate for work, now is the perfect time to apply. Not only are you more likely to get hired, but most businesses are also offering competitive wages, which is a luxury you may not have had two years ago. 

     For example, Starbucks in the gateway center on Alicia parkway is looking for workers. Starbucks pays $14-20 an hour plus tips, and offers benefits such as 401(k), a Flexible schedule, Employee discount, and paid time off. It is a great first job that teaches how to quickly process and remember complicated orders, improve customer service skills, and learn the ins and outs of a workplace.

     Other jobs in and near Mission Viejo that are hiring include Sno2Go, Taco Bell, Wendys, Kohl’s, Yogurtland, Clair’s, Shake Shack, Five Guys, McDonald’s, and Denny’s.

     To apply, many of these companies have online applications on their website, which allow you to submit your application virtually. However, not all companies offer online applications, and some will require you to pick up an application in-store.

     Either way, now is the perfect time to fill out your application and gain some much-needed experience in the work industry, and not to mention make bank in the process.


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