Thursday, June 08, 2017


Complete mystery how they could attract workers to this job.

Mackinac Island has a permanent population of about 500 people and just as many horses, but no cars. From May to October, the picturesque Michigan getaway relies on about 3,000 workers to power its economic engine: summer tourism.

Historically, up to a third of those workers are foreigners, including Mexicans, Filipinos, Canadians and Jamaicans, who are hired on seasonal visas. But when many of the island’s business owners applied for those visas this year, they heard from the government that none were left.

So at the Iroquois Hotel, a Victorian property on the waterfront where rooms command up to $1,200 a night, the owner is trying to figure out how to maintain its high standards without 30 Jamaican housekeepers. Other hotels are contemplating closing off whole sections. Even those who own the ubiquitous horses are wondering if they will have enough workers.

Nothing I learned in economics taught me how employers can attract more workers to jobs...