Maine has jobs not enough people applying

Businesses are hiring for all sorts of positions. The problem is, not nearly enough people are applying for them.

Welcome to the labor shortage, which is presenting its fair share of challenges to business owners and employees. Call the shortage the second right-hook in a one-two punch, following on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on businesses throughout 2020 and early 2021.

Take, for example, Harbor Candy Shop on Main Street in Ogunquit. There’s a sign in the front window, telling all who pass by that the place is hiring. Shop manager Colleen Osselaer said she currently has a staff of 26. Ideally, that number would be 35, like it was in summer 2019, before the pandemic.

“We’re not hoping to hit that number,” Osselaer said on Tuesday. “It’s unrealistic this year.”

Colleen Osselaer, the manager of Harbor Candy Shop in Ogunquit, Maine, struggles to hire employees at her shop as businesses deal with a labor shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic's ripple effects.

Ashley Padget, the owner of Alisson’s Restaurant in Dock Square in Kennebunkport, is facing the same challenge. Alisson’s would be all set if she could just hire two line cooks and one dishwasher, Padget said Wednesday. She has advertised these openings everywhere, particularly online, including on Indeed, Facebook and Craigslist, since February.

“We’ve tried everything,” Padget said. “No response. It’s just crickets.”