The Weird Phenomenon of “Labor Shortages” as Millions of People Who Could Work Are Not Working

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

A sign of how messed up the moving parts of the economy have become, amid massive excesses and distortions connected by malfunctioning gearing.

In an interview a few days ago that aired locally, the owner of an Italian restaurant in San Francisco – the restaurant scene is now vibrant in a different way than before – put her struggles with hiring on the table. The kitchen staff had come back, she said, but she had trouble hiring back the staff for the front of the restaurant, the wait staff, who are normally fairly well paid via tips.

She said that many of these people have other dreams. They were artists or writers or students or entrepreneurs, or whatever, and waiting tables wasn’t their career, it was just a way to make ends meet. And many of them had moved on during the pandemic or were using their unemployment benefits to push their dreams forward, rather than returning to restaurant work.

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