Pandemic Series: Labor Shortage

Today’s Press Herald includes the fourth article in a 5-part series on the pandemic’s impact on the Portland restaurant industry. Today’s article reports on the tight labor market for restaurant staff and the factors contributing to it.

Over the last year plus, you’ve lost much of your staff through furloughs and layoffs. Some you’ve hired back. Some have left the industry for good; real data is hard to come by, but estimates predict as much as 25 percent of the workforce may never return. At the same time, restaurant staffers still overseeing their children’s schooling and care may not be able to work their usual hours. And federal unemployment assistance – that extra $300 a week – has been extended through early September, the beating heart of Maine’s tourism season, providing a disincentive to work, some employers say.