The Indicator from Planet Money - Jobs Friday And The Labor Market Mystery

Unemployment is still above 6%, but companies across the US are saying they can't find people to fill their jobs. What's going on?

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Is the indicator from Planet Money. I'm Stacey Vanek Smith and he's just Friday and horse security indicator. This is when we would traditionally break out the blood and air horn, but we have not been doing that lately because, you know, we've been through a lot in the economy in the last year and it just didn't seem right. But, you know, we were thinking this is going to be the day, April, we're supposed to add over a million new jobs in 4 weeks, we got the economy opening back up and tons and tons of new job. This is the day we're going to break out the air horn. Let's hear it.

Yeah, it's not an air horn day. Do us added just 266,000 jobs last month. That was way below the expectations of more than a million jobs being added in April. And the unemployment rate actually Rose a bit to 6.1% and also this pretty brutal news, especially since the jobs Market had seems to be gaining momentum. But here's the strange thing, at the same time companies across the u.s. say they are in a hiring crisis. They can't find people to fill their job. So what is going on?

This is the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati Ohio and it is fast is approximately 100000 square feet of 35 poker tables, 1800 slot machines. Six restaurants. A Starbucks coming through the casino every week and more than a thousand employees and he says the guests have been flooding back since they reopened the casino, but finding workers to serve. Those gas has been incredibly hard dealer servers. Bartenders counter attendant. It's really across the board, George started to get it. He said we just buy more than 20% for reaching out, thousands of job Seekers but nothing

So he got great. If you thought, what if I offered like a cash prize to people, who would take a job, hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars just to come to work.

On the show, the labor market Paradox, How can there be more than 8 million unemployed people in the US? And also business is all across the country, like hard rock, Cincinnati that are offering people cash just to take a job.

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George calls her friends, Hard Rock, Casino in Cincinnati and he got so desperate to get new workers in. He started offering cash bonuses for different jobs, in the case of dealers were providing a $4,000, incentive bonus, that is a lot of money competition out there. I'll walk by a Dunkin Donuts on my way to work and they have $300 signing bonuses. So this is not something that is unusual. This is going on all across the country. Right now, lot of companies are desperate for workers and some of them have started offering these, big perks, Taco Bell, Chipotle and Whataburger are all expanding their benefits and raising pay a McDonald's in Tampa with advertising 50 bucks, if you would just show up for a job, interview, overall, 40% of restaurants across the country. Say they are understaffed right now.

Kind of The Growing Pains of a tightening. Labor market Economist, at the University of massachusetts-amherst, he's a part of the issue is definitely just timing all across the country restaurants and bars are opening their doors, kind of all at once. And they all need staff especially when restaurants and other Hospitality sectors that are all trying to expand at the same time. But hearing says, that is not all of it. People do seem to be hanging back from the workforce a bit right now. For a few reasons for stop Fear, sold by the Census Bureau, every couple of weeks, if you have the respondents, why they aren't working. The key reasons continues to be that they are worried about Rick. Also cesarean childcare looms, large on schools are still closed. And a lot of people have to be home to take care of children or family. So even if they want to have a job, they can't take one.

Another possible culprit unemployment benefits as part of congressional. A package has millions of people received extra money on top of standard unemployment insurance. Many business owners, including George goldhoff president of Hard Rock Casino say that they think this is why there is orchestrated right now. I think there's a portion of folks that just would rather be on government. George says that hard rock will reach out to thousands of job Seekers and only hear back from a handful of them and even the people who do interviews he says often not even respond to a job offer will reach back out to them and they said well, I'm required to apply to ensure that I get government assistance, but that doesn't mean I have to have an interview. Who is Aaron? Dube has actually studied this issue. He examined the. Of time last year when those extra unemployment benefits were not being offered between the months of September and December and he looked to see if job search.

Pick back up once the extra unemployment insurance expired. There was very little if any evidence that the jobs recovery that we're seeing right now, that's being held back in any measurable way by the unemployment benefits in Industry issue. He points out that the worker shortage is very concentrated in the Foodservice and restaurant Industries. The workers have moved on to other opportunities in other places. If you look at Amazon or Costco ping 15 or $16 minimum wage warehouse workers and their $16 in ways, they have no problem in getting many more applicants than they have. Vacancies, part of the problem might be wages. Daniel Zhao is a senior Economist at glass door and online job search.

Fight. When he first heard about companies offering cash bonuses to people for taking a job, he was really surprised and my mind that's a pretty extreme example of an employer. Sure is trying really hard to get more people in the door. In the question of whether this is a long-term issue or something that's more temporary is a different story. So I think that's part of the reason you're seeing a lot of orders relia and these bonuses, it's because they represent a one-time or temporary increase in pay, and that doesn't necessarily commit them to a long-term increase in wages.

Discontinue for restaurants, Daniel says that will most certainly push wages up. In fact we just did rise last month and Daniel says if it work or shortage is more than just a blip, we will see those wages continue to rise to Peter, be lives in Avondale, Ohio. She lost her job as a warehouse worker back in March. And she says, yes, there have been a lot of job openings, but the pay for many of those jobs is really low, and most of the job she was seeing seems like a huge step down from the job. She's lost, people are hiring, but is not then. See, if he got an email from Hard Rock, she looked at the jobs and she got excited felt like he was a good company and that she could grow there. So she applied and got a job as a cashier. At one of the restaurants in the casino, she started two weeks ago, and she did get a cash bonus of $300. She said it was great, but it was not the reason she took the job. I appreciate it.

I mean, it's not all about the money, it's about the environment with me people, that I work with me, you know, anywhere I make money but it's always about, you know, who you're around and bonhomie more than a bonus. If he sees a future for herself at Hard Rock, Hard Rock Casino says the bonuses seem to be working? They think maybe they're attracting people like tipping applications are up, Pirates are increasing. And that is a very good thing because Hard Rock has 300 positions that it needs to fill.

This episode of the indicator was produced by Brittany Cronin with help from Gilly Moon. It was fact-checked by Sam side or editor, is Kate from Canon and the indicator is a production of NPR.
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