Young African-American woman working at the bar in the cinema, selling tickets, fast food and refreshment.

Teens are now making $50,000 a year amid labor shortage.

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A fast food chain in Texas is offering teenage employees $50,000 salaries in an attempt to keep them on staff, for fear of losing more amid the labor shortage.

Per The Washington Post, Layne’s Chicken Fingers of Texas is struggling with maintaining consistent staff, losing workers to Walmart, McDonald’s and QuikTrip convenience stores that can afford to pay employees much more. However others are blaming COVID relief bills for employees’ recent disinterest in returning to work, seeing as many level entry-positions actually offer less than unemployment does at this time. (Which seems like more of a them problem, but okay.)

As it stands now, and until September, relief bills provide a supplemental $300 a week on top of standard state benefits. This averages to $318 a week, per the Labor Department, meaning that the average individual enrolled in unemployment benefits will actually make more money, unemployed, than someone working full-time for $15 an hour.

Entry-level employees at Layne’s Chicken Fingers make only $11 an hour, per the company’s Indeed page.

However Layne’s Chief Executive, Garrett Reed, insists they can’t afford to raise wages. “There’s only so much I can pay and remain profitable without raising prices too much,” he told the Journal. He also said that he’s promoted several employees in their teens and early twenties to salaried managerial positions that make over $50,000 a year, despite his not yet believing them to being qualified.

“We’re so thin at leadership that we can’t stretch anymore to open more locations,” he continued. “I’ve got a good crop of 16- and 17-year-olds, but I need another year or two to get them seasoned to run stores.”

While we’re huge fans of teens and twenty-somethings making solid salaries, we also appreciate that other fast food franchises are responding to the shortage reasonably and offering employees more money (which they deserve). Most recently, McDonald’s increased its wages by 10 percent, lifting the entry level range to between $11 to $17, while shift managers will make $15 to $20. Over all, McDonald’s expects their average wage to rise to $15 per hour by 2024.

Some McDonald’s have even started offering prospective employees $50 just to go in for an interview.

Several fast food franchises have followed suit, with White Castle and Chipotle raising their wages to start at $15. Similarly, Sheetz Convenience raised hourly rates by $2 for all employees.

While a labor shortage isn’t necessarily ideal, we certainly don’t mind well-deserving workers making more money. Even if they’re teenagers.

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