Why didn’t restaurants hire anyone in August?

This past August jobs report was, in all honesty, a bust. Only 235,000 jobs were added, less than a third of what economists predicted. And for restaurants, no new jobs were created at all. Many economists have begun pointing to the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant as an explanation for the lackluster report, which included a decline of 42,000 jobs in food services industry payrolls. But Kayleigh Caamaño, who owns a pizzeria with her husband, Jann, in Stephenville, Texas, was still scratching her head over whether such a simple reason could really explain her struggle to fill shifts, Marketwatch reports. The nearby college students are still dining out and going to bars during the pandemic; employees’ pay at her restaurant, which includes tips on top of hourly wages, trounces the nearby competition, and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas ended the extra federal unemployment benefits—often held up by their critics as disincentivizing people from job hunting—way back in June. Caamaño is not alone in this labor quagmire: A recent report by the National Restaurant Association found that hiring and retention became the biggest challenge for the majority of restaurants in June. “We’ve always had a problem getting good people, but we’ve never had a problem hiring people,” Caamaño said.

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