In the last week, ripples went across the internet theme park/amusement park fan communities to Cedar Point announcing that it would be increasing its wages to $20 an hour, a virtually 100% increase over 3 years ago. This was shocking to many observers of the industry.... but not us at Parkscope. We here at Parkscope have been beating the drum for a while about the disastrous way in which many regional amusement and theme parks were opting to staff. There's an entire article written back in 2017 about this exact topic, and I assure you, very little has changed except for one key difference:
See, back in 2017, there was no pandemic, and without a pandemic, international travel could happen without any serious barriers. Visa workers could come to town, and in fact, Cedar Fair made it clear in their quarterly statements to shareholders that they would expect to rely on J-1 visa employees to staff the park. Those people do not exist in 2021. In spite of this clear and obvious issue for Cedar Fair's staffing, attention has primarily turned to Unemployment Insurance, a popular target of the Republican Party.
Let me first be clear: Is unemployment insurance a potential threat to getting people "back to work"? Yes. It is. Especially when it comes to people who might be waiting to get a higher paying, higher skill position like they used to have but feel compelled due to a lack of UI to do something in the meantime like work retail. But that's also largely theoretical. We at Parkscope prefer facts. Facts, I'm told rather consistently, don't care about feelings. So where do we find facts? We find them with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.