CHARLESTON (WCBD) – You don’t often associate summer with work — school is out, it’s vacation time for families.
But for some people in the Lowcountry, this season is often their busiest time of year. Small hotels, restaurants and resorts are in the middle of hiring seasonal employees and it is now harder to find summer workers than in years past.
The reason: full-time jobs are easier to come by with the economy improving meaning there are fewer people looking for seasonal work.
“We have seen a decline in the people applying,” said Melissa Peacock, an assistant safety program manager with the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission.
In peak season, CCPRC will bulk up their part-time staff to more than 700 employees — but once September hits — that number drops closer to 300.
“Since we have such a peak volume of people coming, we obviously need a lot more help so we can provide better services to everybody,” said Peacock, who oversees the lifeguard staff and supervises local swim and park programs.
She says this year it’s harder than most to fill these jobs, but predicts that by July 4 – a midway point of the summer – more applicants will stream in.
“We’ve reached out and we try to bring people in but for some reason there is not as much interest in the positions,” said Peacock.
In South Carolina and across the country, fewer visas for temporary workers combined with a low unemployment rate means hiring seasonal workers is a challenge.
As thousands of tourists flock to visit resorts, parks and beaches — employing seasonal staff is key for the state’s economy.
Some businesses say they will need to raise prices or cut back hours due to the shortage of seasonal workers this summer.