— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on Sep 10, 2021, Friday.
The labor shortage in the United States has been a hot topic, and the recent report of McDonald's recruiting teenagers has made the topic even hotter. A McDonald's restaurant in Oregon put out a banner stating to hire staff between 14 and 15 years old. The news immediately went viral on social media. Store operator Heather Coleman told Business Insider that their family had been operating a McDonald's franchise store for 40 years. Although staff shortage happens now and then, a shortage of this scale is unprecedented, she said. The advertisement seems to have worked. Lowering the age requirement brought them 25 new applications within two weeks. The operator had previously raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour, but it didn't yield the result she had hoped for.
Hiring 14-and 15-year-olds in fast food restaurants is generally allowed according to the regulations of the U.S. Department of Labor. However, rules are stricter for hiring teenagers and restaurants can face penalties if they fail to comply. Not only McDonald's, some other fast food stores in Texas are also hiring and even promoting teenagers or people in their early 20s to managerial positions. These practices have caused a heated debate on Reddit and it reflects the severity of the labor shortage in the United States.
The latest data from the Department of Labor show that job openings reached 10.9 million in July, setting a record high for the fifth consecutive month. In July, job openings outnumbered the unemployed by more than 2 million. But still, many employers have been complaining that it is difficult to hire people.
Founder and CEO of Racefaster
"People are just not showing up to the interviews, and it's not just us, we see it and hear it from other retailers, even more management open, Connecticut told us the same story. They had scheduled 47 interviews and one person showed up. "
OceanFirst Financial Chairman & CEO
"The labor shortages are acute. The labor market is so hot right now. So our customers and we spent a pretty wide market we cover from Baltimore through Boston, our customers are uniformly telling us they're having great difficulty finding labor in all sorts of disciplines. And I think that's going to be a persistent issue. "
Covid-19 was the main reason behind this shortage. People are starting to think about what work means amid the pandemic and Covid is making everything uncertain. It is also difficult for people with kids to fully return to the workplace. Safety risks and rising inflations are making job seekers asking for better payments, pushing labor costs higher. That hits small business owners the most.
Founder and CEO of Racefaster
" Even if in the short term, you can do it, what's gonna happen, you're either gonna be forced to raise your prices, and that gets back into the whole inflation issue. Or you're going to have to, after a time, bring the rate of your pay down, which, you know, isn't gonna work, either."
Half of U.S. small-business owners reported unfilled job openings in August according to NFIB reports. The impact of Covid-19 will last for a while, therefore, the shortage of labor is unlikely to ease in the near term.