CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — According to the Labor Department, 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August, the highest number in statistics running back to December 2000. This, combined with a reduced number of jobs available, shows the havoc the pandemic is still causing in the job market.
This is borne out by the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) survey, which confirms that the quits have set a record. The previous record was in April when 4 million people quit. According to research from The Washington Post, the moves are being made by workers “less willing to endure inconvenient hours and poor compensation.”
While large employers can offer hiring bonuses and other incentives to replenish their workforce, small businesses such as independent restaurants are left high and dry. Nearly 900,000 workers in restaurants, hotels and bars quit in August, leaving a huge staffing need.
Diana Burke-Fuentes, owner of Simple Pleasures in Lincoln, California, has seen the problem up close and personal, trying to keep her 41-year-old farm-to-fork restaurant operating as both a sit-down restaurant and a catering service. “We’ve had offers out for months for employment and no response at all,” she said. In four months of hiring, she’s had one person show interest who she hopes to add to her staff.
Before the pandemic, Burke-Fuentes had a staff of 46 on the catering side of the business, and that number has now shrunk to seven. She has had to quit accepting catering jobs to concentrate on the restaurant. She and her family members are working 16- to 18-hour days and she’s managed to avoid having to curtail her hours, unlike many businesses in her area.
Burke-Fuentes said there’s no way her small business can compete with the bonus offerings made by corporate employers, and she just hopes to attract enough employees to keep the business going soon.