Teens cash in on payday as Ohio's workforce continues to cope with inflation and staffing shortages

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Posted at 8:07 AM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 15:19:49-05

CLEVELAND — Inflation and staffing shortages continue to grip Ohio’s workforce and small businesses seem to still be carrying the burden. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reports, 48 percent of small businesses in Ohio rank inflation as their single most important problem, 28 percent pointed to staffing shortages and 11 percent said supply chain disruptions. Still, some of the state’s youngest workers are cashing in on payday due to some rising wages.

“The fact that 16-year-olds like my son and others out there are seeing real opportunities and rising wages, I think bodes well for them,” said Michael Goldberg, Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, kids ages 16 to 19 are making as much as $566 a week or about $28 an hour for someone working around 20 hours a week. We’re told pay for some jobs in the service industry remain steady and hourly babysitting rates are taking off as well. Some sitters reported making $30 an hour.

“Most teens use babysitting as a gateway so it’s like their first job experience,” Erin Hosek, an American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland Instructor. “It's a challenge for employers, and I think prices have to be raised, passed on to their and consumers because of the higher cost of labor, but it's obviously good for workers and it's great for students.”

Hosek, who teaches an array of classes, says many teens join parents in her babysitting classes. The course is offered through the Red Cross online and in-person. As Hosek explained, “the business side they do a little bit of self-reflection. What type of skills and abilities do they bring to the job and then they get to actually craft a resume and then they participate in a mock-job interview. It really opens their eyes to this isn’t just as simple as watching somebody’s kid, this is my chance to really establish myself as a business for other people to use as a resource.”

As talks of recession loom and the job market continues to recover from the pandemic, Goldberg says hope still remains for those looking for work throughout this upcoming summer.

“There's certainly a lot of in-person opportunities and I expect this summer the demand for workers is going to continue to be robust.”

Goldberg says networking in various ways is key to landing a job, especially those that are not advertised. Hosek added, “seek out some training and get some knowledge that way you’re not powerless in that moment.”