By CBSLA Staff

COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — Many teens are jumping into the workforce just as employers are searching for people to fill spots left empty by workers who quit or lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Nationwide, 16- to 19-year-olds are helping businesses that are desperate for workers in lower-paying jobs.

“I believe that since everyone is coming out of the pandemic, most workers were laid off due to the pandemic, so when the pandemic ended, more workers are needed so more jobs are hiring,” said 18-year-old Andy Garcia, who recently landed a job at Miguel’s Junior.

At last check, there were 70 job openings at Miguels’s Junior, a family-owned chain that operates 21 locations in Southern California.

Miguel’s Junior CEO and President Javier Vasquez said he knows he has to be competitive to snag good workers.

“Right now, if they apply we call within 15 minutes we try to get them on the phone and we try and get them as fast as possible. They have an opportunity so we try to be the employer of choice,” Vasquez said. “And we’re also offering $100 — a signing bonus. If you last 30 days, you get $100.”

The Orange County Fair was in a similar position as it also was pushing to hire workers.

There were 50 spots to fill before opening day on Friday.

“We’ve always been a great place for summer jobs for teens and in fact, we take pride in the fact that a lot of teens find their first job at the O.C. Fair,” said Michele Richards, CEO of the O.C. Fair. “We’re counting on them more than ever this year as we too are experiencing some hiring challenges.”

Teenagers are taking notice too of the influx in job openings since the pandemic.

“Back then not a lot of places were hiring and now no one really wants to work so there’s more opportunities for us. I mean, it’s good for us, it works out if you want a job,” said a new hire, Marian Valdez said.