Chicago hotels host job fair as worker shortage persists

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago hotels are looking to hire a few good workers, from entry level to senior staff.

And there is a real urgency to fill positions.

A hiring event at the Swissotel Chicago on Wacker Drive got underway at 9 a.m. Wednesday, and some hotels participating were hiring on the spot.

The job fair is being held to address a worker shortage.

The effort is hosted by the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association along with the Chicago Cook County Workforce Partnership's Hospitality and Tourism Sector Center.

The COVID pandemic has punished the hotel industry with record-low occupancy rates and layoffs, but now tourism and conventions are starting to return to Chicago, with the auto show last week and Lollapalooza set for the end of July. But as demand increases, many hotels have struggled to quickly hire staff.

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Wednesday's event is meant to help the local industry rebound.

New government data show there were more than 9 million job openings in the U.S., as businesses struggle to hire new employees, even with the extra Federal Unemployment Benefits ending in most states.

"I think many people were expecting to see a big surge, a big wave. We're not seeing a flood. But there is evidence of a small effect," said Julia Pollak, a ZipRecruiter labor economist.

Wednesday's hiring event will go until 1:30 p.m.

Visit chicookworks.org for more information.
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