Branson workers laid-off during the off-season, unemployment spikes

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BRANSON NEWS: Many shows are closing their doors and attractions are shutting down until Spring 2018. It is the off-season in Branson.

Each year, after Christmas, many workers who keep the tourism town ticking, like housekeepers and servers, are out of a job.
“I’m lucky if I bring home $250 every two weeks,” Mother-of-Two Hannah Carter-Ferrell said.
Carter-Ferrell and her boyfriend, Cole, work in food service.
“We have gotten our hours cut from anywhere from 35-40 hours to literally 10 to 15 right now,” Carter-Ferrell said.
They live in a motel with two children and one on-the-way.
“It’s like ‘How do you make it in the winter?'” Carter-Ferrell said.
She and her family are not alone. From January until about March, many things in Branson come to a stand-still, making unemployment jump from under two percent to about 15 percent.
“It’s a seasonal environment down here, so a lot of these folks are unfortunately facing lay-offs,” Business Services Representative at the Missouri Job Center Larry Lovig said.

Lovig says when work slows down, the Job Center picks up.
“Some individuals come in and they’re trying to explore different career options,” Lovig said.
While non-seasonal jobs are harder to come by, the Job Center can help.
“We offer classes. We offer one-on-one training. We offer job-search assistance,” Lovig said.
Carter-Ferrell is enrolled in a program called Jobs for Life through Branson’s Jesus Was Homeless. It teaches similar skills. It is a path that she hopes will lead her to success.
“Getting a job that’s all year around that I’m not going to have to get my hours cut at the end of the year,” Carter-Ferrell said.
Her hope is that her new skills and earning her GED will allow her family to move from the motel and onto a better life.
“It can’t get worse because I’m …

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