Before she heads to work, Gillette, 35, has a cigarette in the courtyard oasis she and her “Grannie” have built. Kinerd basks in the sunshine, sitting among the windchimes and lawn figurines.
“She smokes — I don’t,” Kinerd, 79, said on a recent morning, grinning at her granddaughter. “She’s staying here, helping me — I’ve always enjoyed her.”
Gillette has been scaling back her hours at Fish City, though, for school. Previously, she’d been a full-time manager. Now she’s down to part time. And soon she’ll have to cut down even more as her classes ramp up.
She’s studying at a local community college to do ultrasounds.
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world somehow,” she said. “I feel like being a part of helping someone stay healthy, that would be one of life’s greatest honors.”
At the end of the day, said Mike Davis, an economist with Southern Methodist University, there’s no cure-all for a broad labor shortage that has not only sent restaurant operators scrambling but also has hammered the Dallas-Fort Worth construction industry.
“When you have the unemployment rate that we have now … we’re going to see labor shortages,” the economist at SMU’s Cox School of Business said. The metro area’s jobless rate has hovered around 4 percent — a rate that economists say is, essentially, full employment.