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Each week, WFAE's "Morning Edition" hosts get a rundown of the biggest business and development stories from The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter.

Teen job market hot in Charlotte

Summer is here, and that means teens are hitting the job market. Charlotte ranked number three in the country for teen hiring this month. That’s according to Gusto, a software company that provides payroll, benefits and HR services. For more, we turn now to Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter for our segment BizWorthy.

Marshall Terry: Tony, so we've heard a lot about worker shortages in all industries. What kinds of jobs are teens filling in Charlotte this summer, and how are companies ensuring they can hire enough?

Tony Mecia: Marshall, a lot of these jobs that teens are filling are in sort of the traditional jobs that teams do — lifeguarding, you know, hostessing at a restaurant, working as a summer camp counselor. In that study by Gusto, it found that in the Charlotte area, sports and recreation jobs made up about 53% of the 15- to 19-year-olds who were hired here locally. So it's, you know, really a lot of different types of industries.

Teen lifeguard.
Nichole Bohner
Teen lifeguard.

But the thing that is really distinctive now, you'll recall that in the last couple of years, that job market has been kind of tough. There was a year where Carrowinds opened a little bit later because they didn't have the staffing. Some pools locally went to no lifeguards because they couldn't fill the jobs. But what's happening now is the pay on those jobs is increasing. The average is $14.19 an hour for 15- to 19-year-olds, according to Gusto. I don't know how much you made, Marshall, working as a teen. But that's a lot more than I made, you know, working as a busboy at a Mexican restaurant a few decades ago. So the better pay has really drawn a lot of these teens back into the job market and filling some of these jobs that in previous years have been empty.

Terry: Well, are there enough jobs to go around then?

Mecia: Well, it's becoming a little bit more of a normal type of market. Not everybody who wants to find a job is able to find a job. We talked to a 14-year-old who had applied to work at Rita's Italian Ice and at Publix. Publix is one of the few places that says it hires 14- and 15-year-olds. And he hadn't heard back. And so, you know, not everybody is able to get the sorts of jobs that they want. It's becoming a little bit tougher for some teens looking for work.

Terry: All right. Well, let's switch over to churches now. One of Charlotte's most established Black churches, The Park Church on Beatties Ford Road, sold their second campus. It's a big property in Pineville. What's behind this move, Tony, and what's to become of this property?

Mecia: Well, Marshall, since about 2004, The Park Church has owned this 39-acre property in Pineville. And property records indicate that it has sold it to Nikao Church. It's not clear what the sales price was, but the property is worth $7.6 million, according to tax records. Now, we weren't able to reach Park Church or Nikao Church to get an explanation, but just generally, we know there are a lot of things going on in the church landscape. In Charlotte, you have some churches that are growing. You have other churches that are seeing attendance declines. We're seeing development pressures on a lot of different sites, of course, the main example, you know, you have SouthPark Church in SouthPark that had been redeveloped into apartments and a hotel and restaurants. You know, we're seeing housing developments pop up on the site of churches in ways that they haven't before this particular transaction. Hard to say exactly what's going on, but, you know, certainly part of a changing church landscape.

Terry: And finally, this week, you wrote some more about the Charlotte Hornets new lead owner who is from the world of business. Gabe Plotkin isn't as much as a household name as Michael Jordan, but we're going to get to know him a lot better, I suppose. What have you found out about him so far?

Mecia: Yeah, we looked into it a little bit more in-depth, and a lot of times you think, 'OK, it's a finance guy.' And, you know, David Tepper is a finance guy. A lot of them have interesting backstories. And Gabe Plotkin, who's one of the new majority owners of the Hornets, has an interesting background. He graduated from Northwestern in 2001, worked for some hedge funds. Hedge funds are companies that make big bets on the stock market for wealthy individuals and for institutional investors. He worked for a number of those, started his own hedge fund in 2014 called Melvin Capital.

And one of the interesting twists is you might recall a few years ago, Marshall, they got caught up in this meme stock rally when the shares of GameStop exploded, went way up based on discussions on Reddit bulletin boards. Melvin Capital lost billions on that, but Gabe Plotkin is still able to buy $44 million worth of real estate in Miami Beach. And he also has said in a recent interview that his favorite sports star is Tom Brady. So we'll see if we can change that to LaMelo Ball.

Support for WFAE's BizWorthy comes from UNC Charlotte's Belk College of Business, Sharon View Federal Credit Union and our listeners.

Marshall came to WFAE after graduating from Appalachian State University, where he worked at the campus radio station and earned a degree in communication. Outside of radio, he loves listening to music and going to see bands - preferably in small, dingy clubs.