Businesses across the country are turning to teens as young as 14 to cope with a dire labor shortage, with one McDonald’s in Oregon drawing attention with a huge banner touting the new policy.
The McDonald’s franchise in Medford hung the banner after finding that raising the minimum wage to $15 didn’t bring in many new applications, but opening the door to younger applicants did, operator Heather Coleman told Business Insider.
Other businesses nationwide are making similar moves, including a Burger King in Ohio that posted a sign reading: ‘Hey Parents!!! Do you have a 14 or 15 year old? Do they need a job?? We will hire them!’
US federal law set the minimum working age at 14, with limits on working hours for those under 16 and prohibitions on hazardous jobs for anyone under 18. Some states have their own rules setting a higher minimum work age.
A McDonald’s franchise in Medford hung this banner seeking workers as young as 14 after finding that raising the minimum wage to $15 didn’t bring in many new applications
As the country suffers from a labor shortage, with a record 10.1 million job openings, more companies are turning to eager teenagers to fill jobs (file photo)
Federal rules allow 14-year-olds to do work such as office and clerical work, cooking with an electric or gas grill, cashiering, price marking and bagging.
A Burger King in Ohio is also seeking 14- and 15-year-olds
As the country suffers from a labor shortage, with a record 10.1 million job openings, more companies are turning to eager teenagers to fill jobs.
‘They have the drive and work ethic. They get the technology. They catch on really quickly,’ Coleman, the operator of the Oregon McDonald’s, told Business Insider.
‘There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of,’ she said.
In Texas, Layne’s Chicken Fingers is paying teenage managerial workers $50,000 salaries to try and retain talent amid a huge staff shortage.
Garrett Reed, the CEO of Layne’s Chicken Fingers which runs six restaurants across the Lone Star State has told the Wall Street Journal he was training 16- and 17-year-olds to run his new stores because he was so short on staff.
‘We’re so thin at leadership that we can’t stretch anymore to open more locations,’ he said. ‘I’ve got a good crop of 16- and 17-year-olds, but I need another year or two to get them seasoned to run stores.
‘The biggest challenge for small companies to grow right now is your labor force,’ Reed said. ‘We’d be growing at twice the rate if we had more people.’
A Texas fast food restaurant, Layne’s Chicken Fingers, has promoted some teenage workers into managerial positions paying $50,000 due to a shortage workers in the labor market
Togi (right), an 11th grade student at Wakefield High School, is seen at work in a fast food restaurant in Arlington, Virginia in June. Many businesses are turning to teens for labor
Many business owners blame the labor shortage on generous federal unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on Monday, but there may be many others factors.
Economists say lack of child care facilities and fears of contracting the COVID-19 are contributing to an unwillingness to work, as well as the large number of people who took early retirement or sought to change careers during the pandemic.
Federal employment data reported on Friday showed that hiring grew much slower than expected in August, as the highly infectious Delta variant puts a dent in economic recovery.
America´s employers added just 235,000 jobs in August, far short of the big gains in June and July of roughly 1 million a month. Economists had predicted August job gains of 700,000.
Though hiring was weak tepid in August, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent in July, reflecting the low level of layoffs as desperate employers cling to their staff.
The labor participation rate, which measures how many people are either working or seeking work, remained flat at 61.7 percent in August from the prior month, still well below the pre-pandemic average of more than 63 percent.
The sectors of the economy where hiring was weakest were mainly those that require face-to-face contact with the public.
Hiring in a category that includes restaurants, bars and hotels, for example, sank to zero after those sectors had added roughly 400,000 jobs in both June and July.
With COVID cases having spiked this summer, Americans have been buying fewer plane tickets and reducing hotel stays.
Restaurant dining, after having fully recovered in late June, has declined to about 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
Still, many restaurants report being desperate to hire, and the risks of a public-facing job as the Delta variant surges may be discouraging applicants.