Oregon McDonald’s asks 14-year-olds to apply amid labor shortage

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A McDonald’s in Medford, Oregon is so desperate for workers that it’s plastered a huge banner in front of the restaurant calling on 14- and 15-year-olds to apply for jobs.

"There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of," Heather Coleman, the restaurant operator, told Insider.

The sign has drawn about 25 new applications in two weeks, Coleman told the outlet, adding that she previously raised the store’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, but that didn’t lure many applicants.

Anyone 14 and older can legally work in Oregon, but 14- and 15-year-olds cannot work during school hours and are limited to three hours on any school day, according to the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries. They also can’t work more than eight hours on non-school days.

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Coleman’s family has operated McDonald’s franchises for 40 years and had never had the trouble finding new workers that she’s seeing amid the nationwide labor shortage — which has lingered as American workers stay on the sidelines even as job openings soar to a record high.

A McDonald’s in Medford, Oregon is so desperate for workers that it’s plastered a huge banner in front of the restaurant calling on 14- and 15-year-olds to apply for jobs. (iStock)

The U.S. added an impressive 943,000 jobs in July — above expectations — unemployment dropped to 5.4 percent in the month, but about 8.7 million people were still unemployed, far higher than the 5.7 million unemployed in February 2020.

Sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic, like leisure and hospitality, have seen the biggest hiring gains in recent weeks, but still have the furthest to go before they reach pre-pandemic employment levels, federal data shows.

The labor market recovery kicked into gear in July, but Americans’ outlook on jobs dampened this month amid surging COVID-19 cases, according to The Conference Board’s monthly consumer confidence survey.

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Economists have largely attributed the causes of the labor shortage to fear of COVID-19, child-care concerns as schools remain closed and pandemic-boosted federal unemployment benefits.

Those extra benefits — which provide an extra $300 every week — are set to expire next week.

The August jobs report is slated to be released on Friday. While it won’t include data from after the expiration of the federal unemployment benefits program, it will show whether the labor recovery slowed last month in the face of the latest COVID-19 surge.

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