Mono and Inyo counties short of workers

Jon Klusmire
Special to the Times

The quickening pace of the regional economic recovery after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions has flipped the job script, with pandemic related joblessness giving way to a decided lack of workers to fill a long list of job openings in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.

The rebound has also outrun the ability of the state to track the number of people who are unemployed or at work in Inyo and Mono counties.

According to preliminary numbers from the California Employment Development Department, Mono County had a 7.2 percent unemployment rate in May, with about 530 people looking for work. Inyo County recorded a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, with 450 people out of work. Those statistics were released in mid-June.

However, this is July and business leaders wish they were seeing close to 1,000 potential employees roaming the streets with resumes in hand looking for work in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop.

Most businesses in Mammoth are “short of employees,” said Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ken Brengle in an interview. “Everyone we’ve talked to is having a hard time staffing up” to reopen businesses at full strength to take advantage of a solid summer tourist season. “We just do not have as many workers as we need.”

The same situation is playing out in Bishop. “All of our businesses are having a very hard time hiring,” said Tawni Thompson, executive director of the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “We went from shut down to full-throttle very quickly,” she said of the area’s transition from limited capacity and other pandemic restrictions to allowing businesses to open up with minimal mandatory restrictions. The quick ramp up has left businesses scrambling to bring back employees and hire new workers.

For the rest of this story, pick up the print version of the Mammoth Times, out on news stands July 8, or subscribe to our E-Edition (see link at top of page) and get the paper delivered to your inbox every Thursday.