As COVID-19 winds down, employers struggle to fill jobs – Press Enterprise


Wanted signs across Southern California are getting cold shoulders from workers who are hesitant to resume work in the thousands of open-service industries.

Companies that want to see the crazy rush of applicants are struggling to fill all the openings, and many are forced to offer bonuses and other incentives.

Katie Richardson is one of many disturbed recruiters.

Richardson Gisquirrel Group,this It is tasked with finding job seekers for many hotels and restaurants in South Bay.

“It’s really frustrating,” she said. “We have tried all sorts of strategies to attract people.”

Some of those strategies include a $ 500 sign-on bonus and an employee referral bonus that has risen from $ 200 to $ 500.

They especially need “internal and external” workers such as cooks and dishwashers.

“Currently, there are about 75 openings, but people haven’t seen them,” Richardson said. “Restaurant groups are also raising wages, but no one is taking on the job.”

Megan Delia, Office Manager Quantum staffing Valencia faces the same dilemma.

“We are a dispatched labor company, but no one wants to work,” she said. “I have a lot of clients hiring me, but it’s hard to find someone. I’ve had a lot of trouble over the past year, but it’s worsened in the last 4-5 months.”

US employment boosted

Employers across the United States added 850,000 jobs in June. This is well above the average for the last three months, indicating that it may be easier for companies to find enough workers to get the jobs they are looking for.

June recruitment was particularly strong at restaurants, bars and hotels that were blamed for layoffs due to the recession. Those companies have added 343,000 jobs. The government has added 188,000 jobs, primarily in the education sector. And retailer employment has increased, adding 67,000 jobs.

Incentives and higher wages are helping to get more workers back to work. In June, it was below pre-pandemic levels, but the proportion of Americans aged 25-54 who are working or wanting to get a job is growing steadily.

Jose Martinez, a professor of economics at Cal State Dominguez Hills, attributed the malaise of local workers to a variety of factors.

“It’s important to remember that the labor force factor was very high before the pandemic,” he said. “Something looks worse compared to most people working, but I also think a lot of people have reassessed their priorities. They said,” I really do a week. Do you want to work for 60 hours? ” They think twice before returning to the workforce. “

According to Martinez, some minimum-wage workers find it meaningless to work even a little when they have to pay for childcare, while working in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are afraid to return.

He admitted that some low-wage employees are now earning more income through unemployment and stimulus benefits than if they returned to work. But that won’t last long, as the $ 600 weekly federal aid that many have received has already been reduced to $ 300 and the unemployment allowance is scarce.

Still, others, including JM Basto, are desperate for work.

The 61-year-old Schirmer resident was a heavy equipment operator at a construction company based in San Bernardino when the project began to run out as a result of the closure and restrictions of COVID-19.

He hasn’t worked for 7 months.

“My job is a group of pretty elite people who know how to operate those caterpillars, bulldozers and other machines, so they took me everywhere,” he said. It was. “But the project began to end during a pandemic that had not been granted a building permit.”

Having a temporary job to maintain the food service industry, Basto wants to get a job as a ride operator at Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park in Valencia.

“It’s frustrating, but I feel optimistic,” he said.

Still, there are still factors that prevent many from getting a job. Approximately 1.6 million people across the United States said they weren’t looking for a job in June for fear of being infected with the virus, down from 2.5 million last month. And the 2.6 million people who worked before the pandemic retired. The percentage of Americans who quit their jobs in April reached the highest level in more than 20 years.

WorkForce softwareA business that helps businesses manage their businesses, is also seeing conflicts among employers to find workers.

Sandra Moran, Chief Marketing Officer of the company, said: “Employees across the industry are aware that companies are anxious to play an open role and are looking for a better work experience.”

State work figures Southern California’s unemployment rate in May was 8.7%, down from 9.4% last month, but well above the February 2020 unemployment rate of 4.2% before COVID-19 constrained the local economy. ..

Restaurant staffing was 81% of the pre-pandemic level (down 128,000 workers) and employment at hotels in Southland was 65% of the pre-pandemic level (down 33,800 workers). ..

San Manuel Casino is in the process of hiring 2,000 additional workers, including additional cooks, caretakers and dishwashers, as the Highland facility continues to expand for $ 550 million.

Talent Acquisition Director Jasmine Takeshita said: “But it’s harder to fill entry-level positions. The market is tight.”

Rod McDermott is the CEO and founder of. Activate 180, An Irvine-based company that helps people who may get stuck, hesitate, or have conflicts about changing jobs or changing jobs. He said that some full-employed workers want to move on.

“Part of the reason employees are leaving is the disgusting desire to try something new,” he said. “If you were thinking of quitting your job before the pandemic happened, the desire for change is now even more pronounced for two reasons. First, they stay a year longer than planned. And secondly, the current demand for candidates is very high. “

Michael Kachoeff, Owner and Manager 6740Whittier’s trendy restaurant / gastropub hedged his bet early on, seeing a slowdown in the workforce.

“I started hiring people a few months ago and gave them only a few hours,” he said. “It’s opening more slowly than necessary, but the server has plenty of time.”

Business columnist Jonathan Lansner contributed to this report

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