SAN JOSE (KPIX) – On the first day of California’s post-COVID grand reopening, demand for restaurant and hospitality workers continues to restrict the ability of restaurants and bars to operate at full capacity.

In the weeks leading up to the lifting of capacity restrictions and social distancing on Tuesday, signs reading “Help Wanted”, “Now Hiring” and “We’re Hiring” were plentiful at South restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. Bay.

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At the Boston Market on Bascom Avenue in Campbell, manager Angelica Delgado says there haven’t been many applicants, despite several large signs advertising job offers. The restaurant typically requires more than a dozen employees to operate, but operates with a team of just seven workers.

“It’s hard to hire people. You can interview people, but they don’t come back later, ”Delgado said.

David Williams, chief executive of San Jose Improv, hosted a career fair in mid-May, ahead of the June 15 reopening announced by Governor Newsom.

“We realized what was going on and we realized the job market was about to get really tight,” Williams said.

The San Jose Improv Career Fair successfully filled 70 of the 80 open positions. Williams expects all remaining line cook, server and dishwasher jobs to be filled by the end of the week, and the club will be well positioned for its own reopening on June 24.

“I’ve been in the industry for about 25 years and have worked in all the restaurants. And it’s much easier to find people to work in a comedy club than in a restaurant. And you make more money, ”Williams said.

Robert Chapman Wood, professor of strategic management at San Jose State University, said concerns about hiring COVID-19 at work, the lack of affordable housing and President Biden’s financial stimulus package have kept workers on the sidelines.

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“And so everyone has money in their pocket. And when you think about how the economy works, most people go to work because they don’t have money in their pockets, ”said Wood.

It is difficult to get reliable data on current job vacancies. But according to the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor, the leisure and hospitality sector dominated the Silicon Valley region in terms of job growth, adding more than 14,100 jobs from March to April 2021, ie a gain of 10.4%.

Professor Wood warned against waiting too long to re-enter the workforce.

“If at some point the Federal Reserve gets worried about inflation and raises interest rates, that will make a big difference. And the cheap labor market will probably not be so good anymore. So it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of this good job market while he’s here, ”said Wood.

Nanci Klein, director of the City of San Jose’s economic development office, said weekly surveys of various industries indicate that indeed, problems hiring employees have increased. Plus, as restrictions ease, business owners have responded that they will increase their staff accordingly.

As for the reluctance of employees to return to the labor market, some spoke of the lack of childcare services. Others have expressed concerns about the possibility of contracting coronavirus and then infecting young children or elderly parents at home who cannot receive the vaccine, according to Klein.

For the record, Klein’s office noticed an increase in interest in commercial leasing. As tech, finance and other white-collar jobs return to the office, the influx of workers will increase demand in restaurants, convention spaces, hotels, bars, and transportation.

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“It’s a very good sign if this trend continues,” Klein said.

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