Teens heading back to school could bring new challenges to the nation's labor shortage
HOUSTON - The July jobs report is expected to show millions of more openings, than people getting hired, as a labor shortage continues across the country. The challenge could be made worse with the start of the new school year.
As the summer draws to a close, the government reports about one of every three teens held a summer job, this year. That's the most since 2008, as young workers helped fill the gap for businesses needing help. It could turn out to be a temporary fix when kids return to school.
Alex Bartz is one of those young workers. He's preparing to go back to college after a summer working as a bicycle mechanic for a couple of different shops, in town. He says he had no problems finding work.
"I just reached out to some people I knew pretty closely, and asked, 'Hey, can I have a job?'," says Bartz, "They said, 'Yeah, come in, we'll put you to work.'"
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For people willing to work, especially in the service industry, finding a job can be as easy as that. Houston's Three Brothers Bakery has relied, in part, on summer help to meet demand while they look for qualified, permanent employees. Now, they're getting ready to lose a handful of kids to the classroom.
"They're all getting ready to go back to school; back to college," says owner Bobby Jucker. "It's gonna be a tough situation, come September, or the end of August."
The challenge comes from finding those qualified and motivated workers. The government reports just over 9 million job openings in the country, while the number of people actively working, or looking for work is not growing.
At the bakery, they're relying on decent wages and benefits, like health insurance and 401K plans, to keep and grow the essential workers who help keep the doors open.
"Employees are number one for us," says Jucker, "Without employees, there is no Three Brothers, so it's super important that we take care of these people."
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The July jobs report is forecast to show 650,000 new jobs created, while the nation's unemployment rate could drop to 5.8%. Employers are eager to see both of those numbers improve as soon as someone applies for the jobs that are available.