Locally owned. Supported by members.

Unemployment rates rise but some business owners can’t find employees

Future of Downtown
Future in Focus: McCall

Unemployment affected millions of Americans during the coronavirus. However, some business owners in the resort town of McCall continue to struggle to find employees. 

The preliminary July unemployment numbers for Valley County show that 402 people were without a job, at a rate of 6.6%. In comparison, June 2019 accounted for 209 unemployed people, at a rate of 3.8%. 

Craig Shaul, the research analyst supervisor for the Idaho Department of Labor, says that most people listed as unemployed are likely in that position because of the pandemic.

Trouble filling positions

David Carey, general manager of Hotel McCall, Rupert’s and Jug Mountain Ranch still can’t fill positions at his businesses.

[Hotel McCall manager talks travel changes. For visitors ‘more to it’ than they first might think]

- Story continues below ads -
Regence Blue Shield Idaho
The Sundance Company

“We have an opening in every damn department and every damn position, and we don’t even get callbacks,” he said.

Carey says there isn’t a simple answer to the hiring challenges. 

“Some are juggling other stuff,” he said. “Maybe they’re co-parenting in a different way than they used to… It’s confusing. Maybe you have a job and then you don’t because the business opened and closed because of some COVID thing. But I honestly don’t know.”

Jug Mountain Ranch has a high volume of cancelations for weddings. The golf course normally hosts several big weddings, this season there will be very few. Carey says with the employment challenges this is not necessarily a bad thing. 

“Every single one of those is canceled. To be honest, it’s actually a source of relief,” he said. “It would sound like that’s a big blow to us, and sure, it’s lost some revenue. But at the same time, it’s making our life easier. We don’t have the staff so it’s genuinely a source of relief that we don’t have to do these events because it would be very, very hard for us to do.”

Similarly, Shannon Berry, owner of McCall Weddings, said she is having a hard time hiring people and getting old staff to return. 

[’Love is not canceled:’ Wedding business looks ahead after major slowdown in 2020 events]

Berry and her now-limited staff have been working overtime to make up for the employees she lost throughout the pandemic. 

“Every single restaurant in town has help wanted signs in their windows,” she said. “Like every single one.”

CARES Act and Idaho minimum wage

Berry thinks people not returning to work are a consequence of the CARES Act. Until July 25, CARES was giving people on unemployment benefits an extra $600 a week on top of normal unemployment benefits. 

Idaho follows the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour. That means someone working 40-hour weeks and making minimum wage is earning $290 a week before taxes. 

For many Idahoans, unemployment is more than doubling what they make working. So for some staying unemployed may be a simple decision.

Since the end of the $600 bonus, people have been allotted only state employment compensation. Which in Idaho, is a percentage of a person’s pay based on their last four quarters of earnings. This is significantly lower than what people have been making since the CARES act passed. 

Now people on unemployment are waiting to receive an extra $300 per week in Idaho. And employers sit wondering if employees will come back without the extra benefits. 

“Our mini mantra here is day by day, week by week,” Carey said. “You blink and the summer will be done and then we can kind of reevaluate everything again.”

Love our stories? Get them delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. Plus, support BoiseDev's independent journalism.

Autum Robertson
Autum is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Ketchum, McCall and general news. Contact her at autum@boisedev.com.

Restaurants look for find COVID-safe solutions with colder weather quickly approaching

With colder weather on the horizon in Valley County, officials and business owners got together for a “restaurant roundtable.”

Boise utility companies enact payment plans instead of utility shut-offs

Some of Boise’s major utility companies started to ease back into collections after months of holding off due to COVID-19. 

‘Two to three times as many people:’ Idaho hunger group tries to keep up

During a normal year the Hunger Coalition in Bellevue serves around 4,000 people in need. Now, since the start...

McLean launches small business grant program for impacts of COVID-19

Boise's small businesses feeling the squeeze from COVID-19 will have another avenue for assistance. This week, the City...

Popular

Boise’s Clearview Cleaning sold to larger cleaning company

Boise's Clearview Cleaning has a new owner. Kellermeyer Bergensons Services bought out the Garden City-based cleaning company earlier this...

New WinCo development in N. Meridian changes names, reworks some project elements

We told you earlier this month that the Linder Village project in North Meridian would finally start to move forward. Now,...

Poke, burritos, gems, toys and more: new stores slated for Village at Meridian

Several new stores and restaurants will open soon at the Village at Meridian. Paddles Up Poké owner Dan Landucci...

Local home prices are rising fast. Median income is not

The gap between median home prices in Ada County and median income has widened to a gulf over the past decade. 

Costco sets opening date for new Meridian store

The Treasure Valley will soon include three Costco Wholesale stores. Costco Meridian has an opening date. Just in time...

Idaho u-pick flower farm blossoms during pandemic

It's only the second season at Lovely Hollow Farm, and it's been a wild one. In 2019, flower...

Related

’Love is not canceled:’ Wedding business looks ahead after major slowdown in 2020 events

Wedding season is a joyous time, it is a time of the year that people look forward to. Normally. But, in the...

Hotel McCall manager talks travel changes. For visitors ‘more to it’ than they first might think

Most businesses have made adjustments to follow various rules placed by officials to stay open.  David Carey, the general...

Data: Last week’s weekly unemployment claims for Idaho hit record level

Newly released data shows the sudden shock to Idaho's economy in a stark way: 13,134 people filed for unemployment claims last week.

Latest

Idaho u-pick flower farm blossoms during pandemic

It's only the second season at Lovely Hollow Farm, and it's been a wild one. In 2019, flower...

Local home prices are rising fast. Median income is not

The gap between median home prices in Ada County and median income has widened to a gulf over the past decade. 

Poke, burritos, gems, toys and more: new stores slated for Village at Meridian

Several new stores and restaurants will open soon at the Village at Meridian. Paddles Up Poké owner Dan Landucci...

New project in Wood River Valley to increase affordable housing options

Officials and developers broke ground on a new project aimed at helping people find affordable homes in Hailey. 

Boise’s Clearview Cleaning sold to larger cleaning company

Boise's Clearview Cleaning has a new owner. Kellermeyer Bergensons Services bought out the Garden City-based cleaning company earlier this...

McLean encourages Boiseans during COVID-19 pandemic in first State of the City speech

Instead of taking the stage in front of a crowd at Boise State University for her first State of the City speech,...