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MADISON, Ala. — While the unemployment rate across the country is dropping, it’s doing so slowly.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, last month, the unemployment rate nationally was 6%. In Alabama, it’s down to 3.8%, but many local businesses say they are finding it hard to hire, including our very own Rocket City Trash Pandas.

“If you go to any other hotel or restaurant in Madison, Huntsville area and throughout the country… staffing is really, really difficult for us,” said Mark Holland. “We’d hire 40 people today if we could get them.”

Holland is the lead investor and managing member for Ballcorps, LLC, the company that owns the Rocket City Trash Pandas. He says they need around 155 employees in food and beverage for game-day labor but they are well below that number.

Because of the shortage, it’s caused operational issues at the ballpark, and it’s forced them to pause on some amenities previously promised.

“We’ve had to slim down the menu and some of the offerings that we really want to bring back… but in the meantime, to provide the best service we can, we just really had to simplify some thing to make up for that shortfall,” said Holland.

In-seat food service is one of those amenities. Holland says they don’t want to force fans to wait an hour for service, so they’ve had to take it away up to this point.

Holland says they are working to bring back a portion of in-seat service at the next homestand with a limited menu. He says as the staffing situation gets better, they will be able to add more options.

Holland says they’ve tried just about everything they know to hire staff but it’s just not working.

“We’ve held several job fairs at the ballpark, we’ve tried to incentivize current staff to recruit their friends,” he said. “We’ve tried to bring nonprofits in, we’ve tried to get students… We are hopeful that Governor Ivey dropping out of the federal unemployment assistance program here in about a month will help loosen things up in a little bit, but that remains to be seen.”

Holland is just asking for patience right now from baseball fans as they work to hire more gameday staff.

You can apply for concessions jobs with the Trash Pandas through staffing company Spur.