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Filling seasonal openings in a competitive job market

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan businesseshave been struggling to find new employees, despite the recent end of federal expanded jobless benefits

A recent job fair at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth drew a slow, but steady line of applicants. The iconic Michigan holiday outlet is looking for 100 to 150 seasonal employees for its big Christmas sales season. 

Applicants met with Bronner’s employees who asked them questions ranging from whether they have personal transportation to any misdemeanors or felonies.

Chrissy Dutcher, Bronner’s Personnel Manager, admits the $11.50 an hour Bronner’s is offering is less than other employers. There is a 50% boost for those working weekend hours during the months leading up to Christmas.

“I mean the thing is hiring is a concern right now...outside whatever the starting wage is,” says Dutcher. “At this point I’m not too worried about the starting wage.”

There is a lot of competition for a small available workforce.

Michigan's unemployment rate of 4.8%, is only slightly higher than it was before the coronavirus pandemic hit in spring of 2020.

Bronner’s does have one advantage in filling its available seasonal jobs.

Dutcher says former staffers like to return to Bronner’s during the holidays. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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