By Marcy Stamper
Methow Valley News 

Hiring woes hit Methow Valley marketplace hard

Housing remains a barrier for workers


Last updated 5/21/2021 at 10:30am

Marcy Stamper

"We're hiring" signs are a familiar sight at Methow Valley businesses, many of which are struggling to find enough workers for the summer months.

Local restaurants and retail shops are reducing hours and even closing completely on some days. Employers are offering signing and retention bonuses of up to $1,000. Hotel rooms are blocked off because there's no one to clean them.

Businesses throughout the valley - in particular, those that cater to tourists - are struggling to find enough employees to staff the busy summer season.

"The mood felt dire" at a Winthrop Chamber of Commerce meeting last week, Winthrop Marketing Director Anne Young said. "Businesses were really struggling, across the board."

The reasons are varied, but most business owners point to a lack of housing as the culprit. Others say the extra unemployment benefits to help people weather the COVID pandemic are too tempting.

"We're just treading water," said Jacob Young, co-owner and general manager of the Old Schoolhouse Brewery. In five years with the business, Young has never had so much trouble finding staff. A $200 bonus doesn't seem to have mattered. "I haven't felt as desperate, ever," he said.

Some places have reduced their hours, but other restaurants in Winthrop can't even open until they find enough workers. Some have posted signs explaining they're closed because of "staffing challenges." To read more from this article, visit:


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