Summer Workers Could Still Be ScarceDespite a rebound in labor supply, employers such as restaurants, pool clubs, and camps are still trying to increase headcounts for the summer season. They may need to get creative.

 With Memorial Day Weekend serving as the unofficial beginning of summer, companies are scrambling to hire seasonal employees. Teen employment, a significant portion of the summer workforce, has rebounded in the past two years after the pandemic slump. As a result, July 2022 saw the highest teen employment level since the recession in 2008. However, pressures from a potentially slowing economy may result in slightly lower job gains for teens this summer, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Despite this, the unemployment rate for 16-to-19-year-olds remains remarkably low compared to the past two decades at just above 9 percent. 

Despite the tight labor market, there is still a large pool of employable teen workers, the largest since 2009, and a revival of legal immigration that could add to the workforce, according to Ron Hetrick, a senior labor economist at Lightcast. For 2023, the federal government will double the number of H-2B visas available for temporary, seasonal non-agricultural workers. Wages and salaries also increased by 5.1% between March 2022 and 2023, making it an attractive option for those living at home. However, employers are still struggling to find employees, especially for jobs that require certification, such as lifeguarding.

Businesses are resorting to innovative tactics, such as paying training fees for teens willing to work at the camp, as Crestwood Country Day Camp did. The camp expects to pay around $400 to $500 per lifeguard this year. BarCo Brands, a restaurant group on the Jersey Shore, is relying on company culture to attract candidates. Apart from competitive wages and flexibility in scheduling, they ensure that the ideal number of servers is available for each shift to meet guest expectations and maximize tips. McMahon, CEO of BarCo, recommends using job boards such as Indeed and LinkedIn, attending local job fairs, and encouraging employee referrals. Employee bonuses for successful referrals have been effective at Crestwood. 

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