Those working on a pandemic-era Labor Day say they are grateful for their jobs

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Every year, on the first Monday of September since 1894, America has celebrated Labor Day.

The national holiday is meant to recognize contributions that workers have made to the country's strength, prosperity, and well-being, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

On this Labor Day, perhaps you're heading out on the water, waiting for the fish to bite, or hitting up holiday deals at your favorite retailer where you'll spend your hard-earned dollars.

Not everyone takes the day off from laboring.

"Normally, we're a lot busier on Labor Day, but normally I have a few more cars to sell, too," said Lee Maynor, General Sales Manager at Thompson Buick, GMC, Cadillac in Raleigh.

A COVID-19 pandemic-induced, months-long microprocessor shortage that's left car dealership lots mostly bare since the spring is likely to last throughout 2022, Maynor said.

So, instead of wheeling and dealing to make way for more inventory, he's taking pre-orders and selling inbound vehicles.

"Some (customers) are really good and they understand the problem," said Maynor. "Some are used to just getting something now, when they want it and it's just not as easy as it used to be."

Help Wanted signs abound this Labor Day, adorning fast-food-restaurant windows and dotting sidewalks along busy thoroughfares.

The hospitality industry is hopeful the end of pandemic-era unemployment benefits this past weekend could give businesses a much-needed boost in applications.

Autumn Ingool, lead barista at 42 & Lawrence in downtown Raleigh said the coffee shop has been low on staffing, but said she understands.

"It is hard to find people right now because people don't want to put their health on the line to come back to work in this either," she said.

The Downtown Raleigh Alliance tweeted a special thank you to everyone who works in the heart of the Capital City.

"We are so proud of each and every one of you for overcoming immense challenges this past year and showing up to work every day to serve this community," the tweet read.

Gov. Roy Cooper also tweeting a message of thanks to all the hardworking people across NC.

"This year, let's show our appreciation by getting vaccinated so that we can protect them from COVID-19 and continue to get our economy back on track," the governor's tweet said.

Donning her face mask while mixing up another macchiato, Ingool said she's grateful to be employed and especially on a holiday like this one.

"I actually don't mind it; it's an easy day, honestly. People come in- they're in a good mood, I'm in a good mood because they're in a good mood," she said. "It's just nice to be at work because we've been in a pandemic for so long -- so many people are without jobs. It's just nice to have a job actually."

Maynor, too, said he considers himself fortunate.

"I've been in retail all my life, so I don't know the last time I've had a Labor Day off," he said. "But I'm really fortunate and I love what I do and work for great people, and that makes life a lot easier."
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