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The hospitality industry is facing a worker shortage

Lawing said on most days, they’re well over 80% occupancy. But the struggle to find labor makes it even harder to work towards recovery.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Right now, data shows more than 128,000 people are employed in the hospitality industry. 

And while that may seem like a lot, if you compare it to pre-pandemic numbers, you will still see a gap of more than 12,000 employees.

"Staffing is a huge problem," Fred Lawing, one of the owners of Golden Green Hotel said.  

Lawing said on most days, they’re well over 80% occupancy. But the struggle to find labor makes it even harder to work towards recovery.

"It doesn't seem like a struggle, for example, we can rent more rooms if we had more rooms clean, sometimes they just say we couldn’t finish," Lawing said. 

He said they’ve also had to close down their vegan restaurant due to staffing shortages and said sometimes offering more money isn’t the answer.

"I can remember a few employees back, they work good, you give them a raise and then they start missing days," Lawing said. "You can't have a person keep missing and everybody got to keep adjusting their shift."

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Over at Morehead Inn, they say for a while, it was a waiting game

"I think there should be a period where we wait and allow people to figure out what they want to do with their lives," Chad Logan said. "We have seen an increase in our occupancy so the business will return to us how that business will return is the question." 

He said to manage the staffing, they’ve made some changes including increasing pay wages and allowing opportunities for promotions.

"You can start as a room attendant or guest services there will always be room for you to maneuver here," Logan said. 

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reported more than 59,000 employees in the Charlotte area left the hospitality industry during the start of the pandemic.

Although numbers are currently showing signs of improvement there is still a gap of more than 12,000 employees compared to pre-pandemic.

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"Sad to say, but we can use 10 employees now," Logan said. "I rather have more than not enough right now because you don’t keep them anyways they just don’t show up sometimes."

Some hotel owners moving forward said they are still optimistic and they’re continuing to fill in the gaps by the gap hosting different hiring events with some considering other options like working with third party companies. 

 Contact Tradesha Woodard at twoodard1@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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