Locally owned. Supported by members.

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

BRR Careers
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 -
Paddles Up Poke
Regence Blue Shield Idaho

“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.

Tamarack Resort announces pass options and changes ahead of 2020-21 season

Tamarack Resort has announced its pass options and changes for the upcoming winter season.  Passes

Photo tour: Idaho 55 work zone down to one lane with machinery, rock in narrow canyon

Late last week, we drove through the Idaho Highway 55 canyon between Smith's Ferry and Round Valley. The Idaho Transportation recently...

Motel goes through remodel & makes COVID-safe changes

Almost two years ago, Kyle Enzler bought the Scandia Inn Motel. It started out as a hand-built motel in McCall in the...

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.”

Popular

Les Schwab Tires, Idaho town staple, gains large new owner

The stores in Les Schwab country have a new owner. The Oregon-based tire chain went on the block last...

Large student apartment project turned down after McLean breaks city council tie

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean cast the deciding vote to turn down an upscale student housing project near Boise State University.  It's the...

You asked: Why is the Egyptian Theater boarded up?

If you've driven through Downtown Boise lately you might have noticed that the doors to the Egyptian Theater are boarded up.

Popular Idaho mountain hot springs goes up for sale

If you're someone who has thought about purchasing a hot spring, now may be the time to do it. 

Stalled Anthony’s restaurant restarts, announces opening date

Seafood lovers, rejoice! After putting construction on hold this Spring, construction resumes on Anthony's new restaurant in Downtown Boise.

Photo tour: Idaho 55 work zone down to one lane with machinery, rock in narrow canyon

Late last week, we drove through the Idaho Highway 55 canyon between Smith's Ferry and Round Valley. The Idaho Transportation recently...

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.
SERVPRO Certified

Latest

Boise State Public Radio receives million-dollar gift to help support local news

Boise State Public Radio announced it recieved the largest gift in station history - $1.1 million. The money came...

Eagle arcade closes, game machines sold and moved out

After seven years in business, Grinkers Grand Palace in Eagle will no longer welcome classic game players. The 80s-style...

You asked: Why is the Egyptian Theater boarded up?

If you've driven through Downtown Boise lately you might have noticed that the doors to the Egyptian Theater are boarded up.

Les Schwab Tires, Idaho town staple, gains large new owner

The stores in Les Schwab country have a new owner. The Oregon-based tire chain went on the block last...

Large student apartment project turned down after McLean breaks city council tie

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean cast the deciding vote to turn down an upscale student housing project near Boise State University.  It's the...

Sánchez proposes ordinance to separate residential & commercial rental deposits

Boise City Council is considering an ordinance to secure your rental security deposit.  City Council Member Lisa Sánchez brought...