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: ‘Now Hiring 14 & 15 year olds’: Oregon McDonald’s looks to combat labor shortage

A McDonald’s
MCD,
+0.45%

restaurant in Oregon is struggling so much to find workers, it is looking to hire 14- and 15-year olds.

A banner outside of a McDonald’s in the city of Medford is calling for more teenagers to apply to combat the restaurant’s apparent need to fill positions.

“There are always staffing issues, but this is unheard of,” restaurant operator Heather Coleman, told Business Insider.

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In Oregon, anybody 14- and 15-years old can legally work, but cannot work during school hours. They are also only allowed to work three hours on a school day and may not exceed a total of 23 hours in a school week, according to the U.S. department of labor.

Child labor laws vary by state.

Coleman continued to say that she actually doesn’t mind the idea of bringing in younger workers, even adding that the sign brought in about 25 new applicants over the past two weeks.

“They have the drive and work ethic,” Coleman said. “They get the technology. They catch on really quickly.”

McDonald’s is mandating some of its workforce be vaccinated against COVID-19, but that mandate only applies to corporate employees and not restaurant workers.

Labor shortages in the U.S. have been a major issue since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of people who had jobs before the pandemic still haven’t returned to work.

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Businesses in the U.S. created just 374,000 new jobs in August, according to a new ADP survey, which could indicate that rising cases of the delta strain of the coronavirus has led to a decrease in hiring.

Service industry businesses have been hit particularly hard by COVID as there were over 1.3 million unfilled jobs at restaurants and hotels as of the end of May, roughly double the amount from May 2020, according to the Labor Department. Inflation in the U.S. is at the highest level it’s been in 30 years, based on the Federal Reserve’s preferred price barometer.

The labor shortage for such jobs could be due to many factors, such as a lack of strong wages, COVID fears, childcare uncertainty and substantial federal unemployment benefits.

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President Joe Biden doesn’t believe federal unemployment benefits are stopping people from working.

“Pay them more,” the president said in July.

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