Amid Record Low Unemployment, Northern Michigan Businesses Struggle to Fill Empty Positions

Even with record low unemployment numbers announced today, many Northern Michigan businesses are still struggling to find workers.

For five years, Brian and Emily Freund have been making crepes and serving lattes at “That French Place” in Charlevoix.

“Right now every window you go by has a help wanted sign,” Brian said.

They have been looking for help too.

“We’re in a position where we’d love to grow, but without the right help we can’t grow,” Brian said.

They have been looking for a full-time manager for about two years.

“Until we can have somebody who can hold down this store, so we can start working on another store, that’s not even a possibility,” Brian said.

He says they want someone that is eager, committed and ready to grow.

“Those are the type of things businesses like ours are looking for all over Northern Michigan,” Brian said.

Charlevoix City Manager Mark Heydlauff says the tourism of Northern Michigan creates more businesses than the residing population can employ and that makes the issue a little more visible here.

“Here we have more businesses per capita,” Heydlauf said. “So you have a higher need but the population is lower than average which is out of balance.”

He says even the city has been looking to fill some positions for some time.

Until the right fit comes along, Brian and Emily say they will be the ones to keep “That French Place” going.