OCEAN CITY -- When Paul Boyce lost his job as a program administrator for a Utah manufacturer, the 38-year-old headed east to a job as a motel clerk.
When Dollye Schroyer's hours were rescheduled to include weekends under Macy's reorganization, the 55-year-old bookkeeper opted for a job selling candy on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
And when Dale Parker graduated from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore last month with a bachelor's degree but no employment prospects, he returned to a counseling job he had held the previous summer in the state's largest resort.
These three are among the laid-off and older workers or unemployed college graduates who have descended on the resort this summer for jobs, temporary or otherwise.
"The number of applications we have received has been twofold" compared with last season's total, said Nettie Hastings, Ocean City's acting personnel director. And "the quality of applicants has increased because of the number of laid-off workers or people just out of work," she added.
Ocean City hires about 400 seasonal workers, including lifeguards, bus drivers and police officers. In addition, 12,000 to 14,000 seasonal jobs are available at hotels, motels, restaurants, amusement parks and stores each summer.
A record 2,100 applicants showed up at the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce's annual job fair in April, said Alex FauntLeRoy, the chamber's executive director. Many applicants were soon-to-be college graduates facing a grim job market and high school students lacking summer jobs.
But rainy, cool weather through most of the past few months has prompted many businesses to remain closed or operate with skeleton crews. In typical summers, jobs for 50 to 60 people are found each week, but this year it is only about half that number, said Mary Mason, job service supervisor for the state Department of Economic and Employment Development in Ocean City.
The unemployment office, which expects to help place 1,200 to 1,300 workers this season, has been seeing more older people and more from the Eastern Shore because of the weak economy, she said.
Mr. Parker, 22, returned to his $9.33-an-hour job as a counselor for the county health department after he failed to find work in his field, criminal justice.
Mrs. Schroyer gave up her job at Macy's in Glen Burnie to become a clerk at Dolle's Candyland at Wicomico Street and the Boardwalk, making $5 an hour.
Mr. Boyce, who has relatives in Northern Virginia, decided to return to the area after failing to find work in Salt Lake City.