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U.S. lifeguard shortage continues ahead of the summer

Yahoo Finance Live responds to headlines indicating summer labor shortages affecting lifeguard and swimming program jobs.

Video Transcript


RACHELLE AKUFFO: Just as summer is heating up, a nationwide lifeguard shortage is prompting cities to sink their swimming plans this summer. New York City pools canceling a number of their swimming programs over the next few months because they don't have enough lifeguards. Now the New York City Parks Department said starting wages for lifeguards around $16 an hour. Now I know both of you have worked as lifeguards before. So Seana, is that enough? Will that make you-- is that enough money for you to want to go back and do that?

SEANA SMITH: Yes. I think I was making $7.00 or $8.00 an hour. And I did it for four or five years. So $16 sounds really good. But I think this is just a result of the pandemic. We had pools close, training programs were closed. People weren't trained. They got jobs in retail, got jobs in restaurants making more money. It's hard to make the argument to go back to $16 an hour.

DAVE BRIGGS: And you know my lifeguarding past. I was a lifeguard for one day.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, we had a very different experience.

DAVE BRIGGS: One day before I quit. No, I would not do it for $16 an hour. Eyes are on New York City, but this is a nationwide problem. The National Parks and Recreation Association said 8 out of 10 parks and recs across the country are short staffed. And this could affect a third of pools across the country this summer. This breaks my heart for kids that need to learn the life skill of swimming. Foreign workers also been a big problem in the industry.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, certainly. And especially, I'm trying to get my three-year-old to swim. So hopefully, we're able to find some lessons for him this summer.

DAVE BRIGGS: It's you.

SEANA SMITH: I know. I know. That's what my parents always make the argument. They're like, you used to teach them lessons. Why aren't you jumping in there? But I'm going to have to do--