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The restaurant industry continues to see an employee shortage, nationally and locally

With recent reports of job quits and slow hires, restaurant workers wonder when staffing issues will subside.

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed on Oct. 12 that 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August, the highest number since Dec. 2020. 

The massive increase has also slowed hirings with the number of jobs decreasing to 10.4 million.

Experts say there are many factors contributing to this trend. Increasing COVID-19 case counts with the spread of the Delta variant have led to folks being less inclined to work; but also adding to the growing need for higher pay.

The research study showed the restaurant and hospitality industry taking a significant hit with 900,000 people combined leaving both industries in August.

It's an ongoing problem that Athena Lingas, a waitress at The Capitol Diner in Dauphin County, is not too surprised by.

"We're short-staffed and that's everywhere but we're managing," she said. "A lot of people don't want to come back, some people don't want to come back into this profession again because, after the pandemic, they figure the restaurants, hotels, were the first to have to close down because they're in direct contact with people."

Lingas' co-worker Aimee Wright echoed the same sentiment adding the shortening of staff puts more pressure on the workers.

"People were very anxious to get back out over the summer, to get back to their normal summer plans, such as Hersheypark, and we're right in the middle of a major highway, so it was very overwhelming to work the summer and it still is," Wright said. "We just got finished with the Hershey Car Show, things are going to be happening with the Farm Show soon that you need staff for so, it's not fun right now."

Along with an increase in people leaving the workforce, unemployment claims have also decreased.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported nearly 293,000 claims dropped last week and these numbers have not been seen since the beginning of the pandemic, March 14, 2020- when American's would soon find their new normal. However, one must also take into account the various unemployment programs that expired in early September from the CARES Act.

Some counties in Pennsylvania are giving an increase to higher-paying jobs.

Housing company "Stessa" has used data from the Economic Policy Institute to calculate the rise in six-figure jobs. This includes software developers, computer and information system managers, and much more.

The data has shown the York to Hanover area to rank 16th in the nation for the largest number of six-figure jobs. The research revealed these areas to have a 134.5% increase.

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