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Labor Shortage Comes With Many Available Jobs

A look into some of the struggles that some local businesses in Traverse City are facing due to increased labor shortages.
Labor Shortage Comes With Many Available Jobs
Graphic Credit: Isla Wien

  There is currently a labor shortage in Traverse City. Many sources tell us that the labor shortage is not expected to end anytime soon. Many suggest that the employers are at fault. However, employers suggest that the labor shortage is due to the newly exploited option of working from home/online. 

  “Though Michigan unemployment has been hovering near five percent for most of 2021, it simply must be dramatically higher in and around Traverse City, particularly for retail and restaurant positions. Many local employers are desperate to fill open positions or even attract applicants,” The Ticker said.

  Due to this shortage, there are some job openings for teens. Such openings are for those interested in finding a job under 18 years of age.

  “Tom’s starts hiring baggers at 14 years old and up and will hire under 18-year-olds as stockers in most of our departments. Our starting wage will vary on position but is usually in the $13-$13.50/hour range,” Mathew Shomin, a manager at Tom’s, said.

  If students have any interest in working at Tom’s, Shomin has shared ways to easily get a hold of their business.

  “All of our hiring is done online at our website. The link to our web portal is Employment – Tom’s Food Markets ( As far as hiring managers go, each market handles that individually, and you can go in person and ask for an application or interview if that is the way the students would like to proceed,” Shomin said. 

  Tom’s has also struggled through many of the same staff shortage issues as the rest of Traverse City. Many are surprised to hear that even chain businesses have been affected in the Traverse City area as well.

  “Regarding the labor situation, we have had to adjust service hours and policies to match our capabilities. We have certainly faced challenges in that area like many other local businesses,” Shomin said.

  Tom’s seems to be struggling with the labor shortage as they need lots of staff. Modern Bird, however, seems to have a different situation. Andy Elliott and his wife, Emily Stewart, talk about the labor shortage and how it affects their business.

  “We run a small operation and carry a small staff. Therefore, we don’t need the same amount of employees as other businesses. That being said, we have had some ‘thin’ times in terms of staffing, but the size of our restaurant allows us to weather those times without too much disruption,” Elliott said.

  While Modern Bird does not need many employees, they are still hiring. They start hiring at 15 years old and have select positions available for high school staff, including dishwashing and host/hostess.

  “While these are entry-level positions, both are extremely important to the day-to-day operations of the restaurant,” Elliott said.

  Modern Bird looks to hire only the best of staff. The owners look for certain qualities in new hires in order to have an amazing staff team.

  “We look for the right kind of person and rarely put much credence in a resume. We want people who are curious, empathetic and work to make themselves better on a daily basis. We look for people who enjoy learning and want to treat their job as a profession in an industry where the work is often thought of as a stepping stone or a ‘gig’. Hospitality is the foundation of our business and we look for people who embody that principle,” Elliott said.

  If students are looking to work at Modern Bird, Elliott has shared the best ways to get a hold of them. Andy and Stewart are the hiring managers and look forward to hiring new people.

  “We have a hiring form on our website,, which we monitor daily. Otherwise, stop by and ask to talk to us, we’re usually here,” Elliott said.

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About the Contributor
Isla Wein, Graphic Designer
Isla Wien is a Freshman in her first year of newspaper.  Isla chose to take this class, because she enjoys design, and working on the web.  She creates stories and takes photos.  She enjoys spending time outside doing things such as skiing, biking, swimming, and more. 

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