Signboard used at Dunkin’Restaurant in Harlandale, Florida, September 21, 2021.
Joe Ladle | Getty Images
The restaurant industry’s unemployment rate fell to 7.5% in September, well above pre-pandemic levels, showing another sign of concern that the labor force will not soon disappear.
The food service industry and taverns added just 29,000 new jobs in September, according to a Labor Ministry report released Friday. NS Overall unemployment has dropped to 4.8% During the month, non-farm payrolls increased by only 194,000, below estimates.
Lack of ambitious workers has left bar and restaurant owners Shorten business hours, Raise wages And offer Better benefits to attract Keep employees. For the first time this summer Restaurant workers wages exceed $ 15 per hour, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hourly wages for leisure and hospitality work rose to $ 18.95 in September, up 10 cents from the previous month.
“There is no doubt that employment is the biggest challenge facing franchisees,” said Craig Dunaway, president of Pennsylvania East Coast Sub, a regional sandwich chain that operates primarily in the Midwest. increase. “Currently, there is virtually no federal minimum wage.”
Dunaway estimates that the chain’s restaurant staff is on average about 30% short.
Prior to the pandemic, a single “Now Hiring” sign in the window or a single post on the online job board was enough to attract a large number of applicants to the location of Pennsylvania Station. According to Dunaway, franchisees are currently looking for workers using multiple job sites such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter.
Many employers and lawmakers are pointing to the higher unemployment benefits given as the cause of the labor crisis during a pandemic. 26 states Withdrew early From the Federal Unemployment Program in the hope of getting people back to work.
“I had many franchisees tell me that their employees could make about the same amount of money they had at home,” Dunaway said.
However, Research found Early reductions in benefits had little impact on recruitment challenges. For the remaining 24 states, additional funding ended on September 4.
NS August report from Snagajob and industry tracker BlackBox Intelligence He provided four different explanations for restaurant employment issues: dissatisfaction with wages and benefits, lack of childcare, better opportunities in other industries, and concerns about mental and physical health.
David Lewis struggled to find enough bartenders in Stillwater, a restaurant in Fairfax, California that he co-owned with his wife. Most of Lewis’s experienced bartenders were already in a limited employment pool because they were looking for live performances in cities like San Francisco and Auckland rather than in the neighboring suburbs. But in addition, he said he believed that many bartenders and restaurant workers valued their lives during the blockade.
“People now think,’You won’t have to grind every night to make a living,’” Lewis said. “I think it just changed everyone’s perspective.”
The shortage of workers is putting more pressure on the rest of the workforce. Restaurant customers are dissatisfied with slow waiting times and incorrect employee orders. This can make quitting a more attractive option for employees.
“It creates negative cultural dynamics and I find it difficult for people to get out when there are very few people,” Dunaway said.
Historically, the restaurant industry has suffered from high turnover rates. Many workers do not intend to stay in their work forever, but instead use it to make money as a stopover during schooling or between other jobs. According to BLS, the turnover rate for the entire hospitality industry in 2019 was 78.9%. The following year, the rate soared to 130.7%.
Lewis estimates that about half of the industry’s bartenders don’t plan to get stuck for long anyway, but the other half usually have other interests or full that they can rely on for money during a pandemic. I’m working full time.
How long the problem lasts is still in the air, but restaurants are trying to decide how it will affect their business and how to avoid it. Dunaway expects the staff shortage to remain unresolved until at least the first quarter of 2022.
Technology is one possible solution for large companies in the industry.Olive garden parents Darden Restaurant Uses artificial intelligence to help predict customer traffic and make scheduling more efficient. McDonald’s Is testing automated drive-through orders at several restaurants in Chicago.
Restaurant unemployment drops to 7.5% in September
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