Willing, but unable.
That’s been the reality for restaurants ever since the economics impacts caused by COVID-19.
“We’re glad to be able to serve as many people as we can, but we are limited by the amount of staff we have,” said Zydeco Co-owner Cheri Helt.
However, in its August report, the Oregon Employment Department found jobless rates fell below 5% for the first time since March 2020.
“Most areas that have come near full recovery, or come near full recovery, or actually there’s a handful of counties that have expanded beyond their jobs as of February 2020, and all of those locations are east of the Cascades,” said state employment economist Gail Krumenauer.
Though the leisure and hospitality industries added 1,200 jobs in August, it’s still far below pre-pandemic numbers.
“We have an interview today, and that is the first time in about two months that we’ve had anyone come and apply,” said Helt.
And in the Bend area, finding a place to live for service workers keeps the “Help Wanted” signs up.
“I really think that we need to make the housing prices accessible for people who can come here and work in our hospitality industry,” said Helt.
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release its findings specifically for Central Oregon next week.