Bars And Restaurants Hired 90% Fewer People In October Than September

The pandemic was disastrous for almost every industry worldwide, but hotels, retail, and restaurants were some of the hardest hit. Many of the industries that suffered the most during the pandemic still haven't managed to recover, and the restaurant industry in particular was affected massively. Forbes says that though the pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, restaurant owners are still being affected by the initial lockdowns, the loss of revenue, and layoffs that occurred. Thankfully, the restaurant industry has turned to technology to offset these challenges and is expected to reach $899 billion in sales by the end of this year.

But that doesn't mean that the restaurant industry has fully recovered; even big chain restaurants like Ruby Tuesday filed for bankruptcy during the initial waves of the pandemic (per CNBC). The Washington Post estimates that 72,700 restaurants closed (temporarily and permanently) in 2020, and this meant a lot of layoffs. You'd assume that with restaurants up and running at full capacity again, we'd see a wave of restaurant and bar hiring sweep across the nation, but that has not been the case. In fact, according to Restaurant Business, new federal data reports that restaurant hiring slowed significantly in the month of October, with only 6,000 positions filled, as compared to 60,000 new hires made in September — a staggering 90% difference. So what's driving the slowdown?

Why aren't restaurants hiring?

Small restaurants, bars, and family-owned businesses are taking another hit thanks to pandemic recovery and inflation issues. According to the Nation's Restaurant News, only 17% of restaurants in the United States are currently hiring. This is a tremendous shift from what restaurant owners reported last year in 2021, when 56% said they were planning on hiring significantly more employees. A lack of revenue to support hiring is the main issue, and is also why 8% of restaurants are having to let employees go because they can't afford to keep them on staff.

Restaurant Business says that the national unemployment rate is currently at 3.7%, and businesses like restaurants and bars are still 500,000 employees short of pre-pandemic employment rates. The unwillingness to hire is likely because restaurant owners are expecting another national recession. Nation's Restaurant News points out that small restaurant owners are greatly impacted by current inflation issues and are thus hiring with extreme caution. It doesn't help that large companies boasting 5,000-plus employees or more are continuing to hire and can attract talented and consistent employees; CNBC reports that small to mid-sized companies can't compete with them.