CLEVELAND — The number of job openings continue to be at record highs across the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and while there are many places hiring, there are not a lot of applicants.
It seems businesses can’t catch a break.
After a year of uncertainty and COVID-19 shutdowns, restrictions have been lifted, but now, there’s a new problem as places open back up: finding enough workers to show up.
It’s a nationwide issue and it's hitting Ohio businesses like RollHouse Entertainment, hard.
“There’s a lot going on and really could use some help," said Michael Green, food and beverage director at RollHouse Entertainment.
The kitchen is busy and has multiple jobs that force workers to double-up on responsibilities without the additional help.
“Right now, there’s prep work to be done and there’s nobody to do it,” said Green. “So, I got to find a way to do both.”
For the first time in months, RollHouse Entertainment in Solon is open on Tuesdays.
“Only because myself, the general manager, and the director of food and beverage is able to cook so we can get us through the night,” said Anthony Guenther, general manager at RollHouse Entertainment.
The decision to close one day a week was not due to a lack of customers.
“We’re booming and to be closed on one day, it hurts,” said Guenther.
The closure was due to a lack of workers.
“We just got to stop paying people to sit at home," said Guenther.
“Thirty years in this industry and I’ve never seen the lack of food, the help, everything," said Green.
Neither are supposed to be preparing food, but in order to meet the demand, these managers are being pulled in every direction and forced to wear a lot of hats.
“We’re in a dilemma right now where we also need to take care of our employees,” said Green. “We can’t work them, you know, 100 hours a week.”
Green said prior to 2020, 12 cooks worked at the business. Now, there are three causing the menu to be smaller.
“We also now put our ‘we are hiring’ section on the menu, which we’ve never had before,” said Green. “We reduced the menu so much that I had to, I wanted to put something on there about hiring.”
Guenther said about 45 people are on the payroll and they’re in need of about 25 more employees.
Record unemployment coupled with government financial assistance are some of the reasons for the labor shortage.
“When we get employees, it’s tough to keep them because of the crazy competition," said Guenther.
New hire incentives and increased wages are a few ways places like RollHouse are working to attract jobseekers.
“We’re bringing in line cooks at, you know, $16-18 an hour which two years ago the average wage was $12-14," said Green.
The family entertainment center has multiple locations in Ohio that offer bowling, laser tag, arcade games, a bar and more.
After more than a year of isolation, many people are eager to get back out and about.
“It sounds crazy, but our sales are up over 2019," said Green.
The federal program that gave $300 per week to unemployed Ohioans ended June 26, but some are unsure if it will be enough to bring back the workforce.
“People got to come out and work,” Guenther said. “That’s really what it comes down to.”