CINCINNATI – On Wednesday, Kroger hosted a job fair in hopes of hiring 20,000 jobs between the Cincinnati and Dayton areas in preparation for the holiday season.

Companies across the country are struggling to hire staff as Kroger tries to hire more staff as people plan to fill carts before the holidays.

“We know many families are sure to regroup and hold larger celebrations,” said Jennifer Moore, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Cincinnati-Dayton division.

Moore said she doesn’t think the “major resignation” caused by COVID-19 will affect applications.

Northern Kentucky University economist Janet Harrah disagrees.

“I don’t care what your job is, it will be hard to fill,” she said.

Harrah said employers have a twofold problem: both economic and health.

On Tuesday, the Department of Labor announced that 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August, the highest number since 2020.

“I think we will see these kinds of economic ups and downs for at least another 18 to 24 months,” said Harrah.

In Green Township, Ron’s Roost Restaurant has also felt the effects.

“I’ve never had such difficulty getting applications,” said Ron Larkin, owner of Ron’s Roost Restaurant.

He’s hiring for multiple positions, from waiters to cooks, but said the workforce just isn’t there.

“I haven’t gotten to the point where I see a lot of restaurants close on a Monday or Tuesday. We’re not there yet.” said Larkin. “I don’t have to do that. But I don’t know what the next six or twelve months will bring.”

Other large companies besides Kroger are starting vacation rentals, including DHL near the airport. Kroger hopes that new employees who join for the Christmas season will stay after the holidays. Even though the recruitment event is over, interested applicants can still apply online.