POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Memorial Day weekend is just a month away and it’s expected to be a busy summer at the Jersey Shore.
But businesses – and even towns – are struggling to find people to work at the shore this year, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Friday.READ MORE: Vice President Kamala Harris Promotes Biden's Infrastructure Plan In The Bronx
Before the wave of tourists arrives for the busy summer season, families are enjoying the relatively quiet time down the shore.
“Just spending time together. Just enjoying this, you know, the ocean,” said Catherine Lisasuain, who lives in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania.
Many businesses are struggling to fill thousands of seasonal positions with summer right around the corner.
Some blame the shortage of applicants on the $300/week federal unemployment benefit on top of the state unemployment check.
“Now they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m not going to come back. I’m making more now with the benefits that I get, plus an extra $300,'” said Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz.
The mayor said it’s hard to say exactly how many jobs are unfilled right not, but noted it’s a lot.
“I’d say over a thousand. Over a thousand,” he said.
“Just in Seaside Heights?” Caloway asked.READ MORE: NYPD: Suspect Grabbed 11-Year-Old Girl's Hair, Tried To Choke Her At Stuyvesant Square Park
“Just in Seaside Heights,” Vaz replied.
Up the beach in Lavallette, the employment crisis hit The Crab’s Claw Inn hard. The restaurant is short nearly 100 workers. A sign on the door warns customers that service might be slower as a result.
Owner Sam Hammer said he would normally be picking from a stack of applications this time of year. But this year, he said, he’s competing with the government check.
“I don’t like it, but I can surely understand. Collect unemployment plus an additional $300 each week and sit on the beach,” Hammer said.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach needs to fill at least a few hundred positions. The unemployment money is partly to blame.
There are also fewer seasonal workers coming from overseas because of the pandemic.
Toby Wolf, with Jenkinson’s, encourages people who visit the shore to pack some patience.
“So please be patient with the workers that are coming. They’re putting in their all,” Wolf said.
That $300 federal unemployment supplement is set to expire in September. So, officials near the shore expect the hiring crisis to last all summer.MORE NEWS: National Pizza Month: More Chefs, Restaurants Pivoting To Pizza Due To The Pandemic
CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.