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AM News Brief: Hospitality Jobs Unfilled, South Salt Lake DMV COVID Cases & Violence Against Women Act Stalled

Photo of The Grand American Hotel.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER
/
There are significantly more vacant hospitality jobs in Utah compared to two years ago according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, July 2, 2021

State

Hospitality Employers Feel Job Vacancy Pinch

There are significantly more vacant hospitality jobs in Utah compared to two years ago according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah analyzed the data. It shows Utah's leisure and hospitality sector was down almost 9,000 jobs this May compared with 2019. The largest hospitality deficit is along the Wasatch Front where hospitality jobs in Salt Lake City were down nearly 10% this May compared to two years ago. In a blog post, Gardner senior tourism analyst Jennifer Leaver wrote that economists cite several reasons for what's going on, including laid off workers collecting generous unemployment checks during the pandemic. Leaver anticipates the leisure and hospitality job gap will narrow because benefits expired at the end of June and as vaccination rates rise, returning life to greater normalcy. — Pamela McCall

Northern Utah

Development Could Replace West Side ‘Supermercado’

New townhomes could be coming to Salt Lake’s Glendale neighborhood. The owner of a Latino supermarket is partnering with the developer, but residents are concerned about what it could mean for food accessibility. Daniel Mendoza is a professor at the University of Utah and has studied food access on Salt Lake City’s west side. He said for people who may not have a car, losing a supermarket is a big deal. “Before a person could just walk two blocks and get to a fresh food place,” Mendoza said. “Now they have to take the time to walk 10 blocks, 15 blocks.” Read the full story/Leer en Español. — Ivana Martinez

South Salt Lake DMV Faces COVID Cases, Staff Shortages

Officials recommend that people going to South Salt Lake office of the Division of Motor Vehicles, complete their request online first. The office is facing staffing shortages for two reasons — COVID-19 cases and unfilled positions. The DMV said three employees there have tested positive for the virus and contact tracing is underway. They say there are also six job openings at the South Salt Lake office they have been unable to fill. Officials said the federal unemployment benefits, which ended at the end of June, have made it difficult to find entry-level employees. The DMV said it plans to keep the location open and follow proper health and safety protocols. In the meantime, people can go online to dmv.utah.gov for assistance. — Ross Terrell

Region

Violence Against Women Act Held Up In Senate

Tribal nations typically don’t have criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives who commit crimes on reservations, but a new provision in the Violence Against Women Act could change that in some cases. The latest reauthorization of VAWA would give tribal police and courts limited jurisdiction over non-Native domestic and sexual abusers. Advocates say that expanded jurisdiction is critical for combatting the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women. But the sweeping bill is held up in the U.S. Senate, where some Republicans oppose its restrictions on gun ownership for convicted domestic abusers. VAWA passed the House in March, but has not yet been scheduled for a vote in the Senate, where it would need the support of at least 10 Republicans. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau