Economist says young workers are slow to return to the West Pennsylvania job market


Len Semplice really tries to bring workers to his restaurants. Semplice owns Redbeard’s Bar & Grill on Mount Washington and Redbeard’s on Sixth in downtown Pittsburgh. Offers of higher wages and additional benefits do not allow this to be done. “It still doesn’t work,” Semplice said. Semplice cut Redbeard’s hours, closing at 11 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. most of the time. But he also reduced the days themselves. Action News 4 from Pittsburgh spoke with Semplice last Friday, ahead of the bank holiday weekend, and he decided to shut down a few days earlier in the week to make sure he had the necessary staff. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to be able to open for July 4th, and even we will always be short-staffed until the weekend, ”Semplice said. Semplice said the young workers he normally relied on for summer hiring are not there. “You don’t bring your students back until you come back to work for a few days,” Semplice said. It’s a theory, Pitt economics professor Chris Briem said the data backs it up. “They don’t. They don’t participate in the workforce, it’s just that they’re probably not here,” Briem said of the students. May indicate that there are fewer young workers in the area looking for work. “They may have been enrolled, they may have continued their education. And by not being here, they couldn’t stay for the summer, “Briem said. Briem noted that Allegheny County has a large student population, and although overall unemployment is on the rise. decline, there is a gap in the workers needed to fill the jobs. “I think there are clearly industries that have a lot of university workers. and I think that’s what we don’t see, we don’t see an increase in the size of the workforce at the start of the summer, ”Briem said. Briem’s ​​problem expects to continue for months, “If the workers aren’t around now, we’re going to have these challenges over the summer, at least until early fall,” he said.

Len Semplice really tries to bring workers to his restaurants. Semplice owns Redbeard’s Bar & Grill on Mount Washington and Redbeard’s on Sixth in downtown Pittsburgh.

Offers of higher wages and additional benefits fail.

“It still doesn’t work,” Semplice said.

Semplice cut Redbeard’s hours, closing at 11 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. most of the time. But he also cut the days themselves.

Action News 4 from Pittsburgh spoke with Semplice last Friday, ahead of the bank holiday weekend, and he decided to shut down a few days earlier in the week to make sure he had the necessary staff.

“We had to close Sunday, Monday and last Tuesday to be able to open for July 4th, and even we’re still going to be understaffed until the weekend,” Semplice said.

Semplice said the young workers he normally relied on for summer hiring just aren’t there.

“You don’t bring your college kids back until you come back to work for a few days,” Semplice said.

It’s a theory that Chris Briem, a professor at Pitt Economics, said the data backs up.

“It’s not that they don’t participate in the workforce, it’s just that they’re probably not here,” Briem said of the students.

Pennsylvania labor data from May indicates that there are fewer young workers in the area looking for work.

“Maybe they got enrolled, maybe they continued their education. And by not being here, they couldn’t stay for the summer,” Briem said.

Briem noted that Allegheny County has a large student population and that although overall unemployment is declining, there is a lack of workers needed to fill the jobs.

“I think there are clearly some industries that have a lot of university workers. High school workers, maybe people who are not yet in college, high school workers who may be entering the workforce. for the summer itself. And I think that’s what we ‘don’t see, we don’t see an increase in the size of the workforce at the start of the summer, “Briem said. .

This is a problem Briem hopes to continue for months,

“If the workers aren’t here now, we’ll have these challenges all summer long, at least until early fall,” he said.

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