Help wanted

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

Department of Labor says summer jobs available for teenagers and adults in Quay County.

Tucumcari’s economy is a service economy, according to New Mexico Department of Labor employment representative Bill Griffin.

Griffin tries to find jobs for Quay County residents who come into his office on West Route 66 Boulevard.
“Restaurants, motels and gas stations — that’s where most of the job openings are,” Griffin said.

A look at the jobs listed at the labor department’s Web site confirms Griffin’s observation. A number of cashier positions are available. One of the few clerical positions listed is a data entry clerk position that pays $8 per hour.

The cashier positions offer an average of $6 per hour, 85 cents higher than the federal minimum wage. A job as a truck washer can be had if one is willing to work for $5.15 per hour.

Richard Willis, operator of the Driver’s Travel Mart in San Jon, said he needs summer help because bus loads of tourists stop at his store as well as motorcycle touring groups.

“The work force has diminished considerably over the past 10 years,” Willis said. “If we hire someone for the summer, we may cut their hours from 38 hours per week to 30 hours per week after the summer, but we will try to work with them. We treat everybody like family here.”

Willis said he needs cooks, cook helpers, cashiers and maintenance workers.

“We’re looking for older full-time workers,” he said. “About a month from now we will have a benefits package in place.”
Griffin said some construction jobs are available in Tucumcari with the First Street Project beginning Wednesday.

“The construction company is looking for skilled workers right now,” Griffin said. “They need skilled carpenters and cement finishers. There is usually some turnover in the general labor positions, so there will probably be some openings for non-skilled laborers later on.”

Willis said even though he wants full-time older workers, there will be a number of teens seeking part-time work. That is in line with national trends, according to Darrell Luzzo, senior vice president for education for Junior Achievement Worldwide.

“Fortunately for teens, the recent employment situation is still very favorable for those seeking summer jobs,” Luzzo said, “and poll numbers show that a vast majority of the nation’s youth plan to work this summer.”

Luzzo said Junior Achievement poll numbers show that “extra spending money” was the top reason for teens wanting to work during the summer months.