Labor shortage hits hospitality industry across Bay Area

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – The help wanted sign is up at many businesses across the region as the pandemic wanes and the economy reopens.

Many of those jobs are not being filled amid a labor shortage that could slow down the recovery.

In anticipation of a return soon to the less restrictive yellow tier in the state’s reopening framework, downtown San Jose’s Pizza Flores would like to hire a few more people but those applying for the jobs are few and far between, says owner Ryan Summers.

Like so many others in the hard-hit hospitality sector, Jason Gallego was furloughed from his other restaurant job and says many food service workers and bartenders have simply moved on.

There is speculation that extended unemployment benefits, which may be more than what a part-time job pays, are contributing to the labor shortage.  

Still others have changed careers.  

Although the tech sector has fared better as many people are still working from home, the demand for labor is growing beyond hospitality, says indeed.com chief economist Jed Kolko.

The scarcity of labor may be related to people waiting for the pandemic and vaccinations to play out.  

Pizza Flores would like to hire another two or three people but so far applicants are few.  

It won’t help the bottom line but luring workers back might mean offering higher wages.

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