Businesses desperate to hire more workers as summer nears
BATON ROUGE - There may be more "help wanted" signs in front of businesses than people wanting to work. From water parks to restaurants, the hiring signs are out but help's hard to find.
There's so much help needed that some companies are now boosting pay. Some workers believe the restaurant business is taking the hardest hit.
"You have the highest unemployment rate in the city that has got the most restaurants, and restaurants are struggling for employees more than anyone. The math doesn't add up," General Manager Ryan VanderBos said.
VanderBos says he is struggling to find chefs and servers. He needs to hire at least 100 people by summer for the TJ's Ribs locations.
VanderBos says he's now offering perks in order to get more people on staff.
"All of our cooks, bussers, hourly people, and bartenders all got raises. Every one, single person in our building makes more than they did six months ago no matter what," VanderBos said.
Daniel Burg at BREC's Liberty Lagoon waterpark is facing the same battle.
"Workers in the United States, especially in recreation, are at an all-time low right now. We can't define what the issue is, but we know there is an issue," Burg said.
Many business owners blame the unemployment benefits that often exceed the pay for some jobs.
"You don't have to come to work to pay your bills right now. Someone else is going to send you a check, or unemployment is going to give you this, or the stimulus is a lot," VanderBos said.
Even the longtime Baton Rouge staple Blue Bayou is having trouble. It's reopening on May 22, but there's a huge need for workers there too. Currently, about 700 jobs need to be filled.
BREC will host a job fair Saturday in step with a vaccine pop-up clinic, May 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Youth in attendance will have the opportunity to apply in advance for summer employment opportunities with BREC.