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Unemployment is the lowest it's been in 50 years, but difficulty hiring is at an all-time high

giovannis fish market.JPG
Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-23 00:45:21-04

The number of Americans who are collecting unemployment is the lowest it’s been since 1970, and in San Luis Obispo County, the unemployment rate dropped from 3.8 in January to 3.3 in February of this year.

But despite the drop in unemployment rates, the pressure for local restaurants to hire workers is higher than ever.

"It's challenging and it's scary, especially going into our busiest time of year which is summer," said Giovanni DeGarimore, Giovanni's Fish Market owner.

Giovanni's Fish Market is eight employees short, putting a great deal of pressure on what little staff they do have.

"We've never had this many job openings ever in history," DeGarimore said.

The restaurant is struggling despite offering about $20 an hour for most positions.

"We haven't altered our hours yet, but it's been very challenging. Like I said, this has probably been the most challenging time in the history of our business in 40 years," DeGarimore said.

Just down the street, House of JuJu is also struggling to hire. The restaurant's general manager, Jaynae Franklin, says they can't find enough back-of-house help so she has taken on additional roles in order for the restaurant to stay open.

"I have plenty of people interested to work up front, and I've hired there so I myself can go work in the kitchen. I'm our cook today actually," Franklin said.

The restaurant has had ads posted since February and Franklin says finding kitchen staff is nearly impossible.

"We've had a couple days that staffing did affect our hours, but we do our best to stay open to what our hours say to have that consistency," Franklin said.

She says the difficulty with hiring started with the pandemic, but she thinks people have found different sources of income, especially with jobs allowing them to work from home.

Both House of JuJu and Giovanni's say they have job applications for their open positions available on their Facebook pages.