PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The coronavirus pandemic caused a massive wave of unemployment in the Pittsburgh area.
Now that the economy is returning, employers are facing a new problem – insufficient labor. The KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan is investigating why employers can no longer fill positions.
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After a year of downtime and restrictions on indoor eating, the lunchtime crowd is picking up at the Juniper Grill in Cranberry. The problem now is a lack of chefs, bartenders and waiters to serve them.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Pat McDonnell of Atria’s Restaurants. “We have eight restaurants and we need employees in all eight restaurants.”
Employers across the region have the same lawsuit. Now that the economy is bouncing back, they cannot find the workers to fill the positions.
“People are calling for interviews and they are not showing up for interviews,” said McDonnell. “We went to every place we could advertise to get the word out that we are hiring. It was just very, very difficult. “
“The workforce has decreased. The people looking for work are downstairs. I think a lot of people moved on, ”said Chris Briem, researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.
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The region lost 200,000 jobs at the start of the pandemic, but got all but 78,000 back last year. After many of these jobs returned, around 50,000 people left the workforce and are no longer available, according to Briem.
“I think some of our employees have retired early,” said Briem. “I think a lot of our younger workers are students. I think there are huge problems with people caring for children or other people at home not being able to get back into work. “
“Getting them back is a challenge because they are getting more money,” said Chris Hansen, Chief Operating Officer of St. Moritz Security.
St. Moritz Security Services plans to fill around 200 security officers, but Hansen said many of its employees are not coming back because they are making enough money not to work with additional unemployment. In the new round of stimulus checks, add that it will be much harder to find workers.
“You saw some people get their checks today, and we had some calls this afternoon,” said Hansen.
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Employers hope this is only temporary. However, if workers do not return, it will be bad news for the recovery of the economy.