SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — More Arizonans are getting back to work, and experts predict employment in our state will back to pre-pandemic levels in a matter of months. While hospitality and leisure jobs are making a big comeback, some businesses are having a hard time building staff.

Hash Kitchen restaurant held a two-day hiring event at one of their Scottsdale locations this week. No one showed up looking for work, according to Director of Operations, Allison Gamberg.

“We’re doing the best we can,” says Gamberg. Hash Kitchen had to close its doors for a couple months at the height of the pandemic, but today, Gamberg says, business is doing far better than it was before COVID-19. The problem is all locations are down workers.

“Anywhere from cooks to dishwashers, to prep, to servicers, hosts, bussers,” says Gamberg. About 62% of leisure and hospitality jobs in Arizona have returned, according to Danny Court, a senior economist with Elliott D. Pollack and Company. “People are getting hired on, and taking those jobs,” says Court. “But, yes, it could be tough.”

Court says getting people to fill lower-wage positions can be difficult right now after jobless benefits were extended at the federal level in March. “If I’m going to make the same amount on that unemployment benefit, there’s a strong incentive to not go ahead and get that job,” says Court.

Another theory for the difficulty in hiring, Court says, is some Arizonans may have ditched the uncertainty of hospitality work in favor of more stable jobs.

Gamberg agrees. “That’s how you make you’re money, and when the business isn’t there or you’re not sure if the business is going to be there, that’s a hard pill to swallow.”

She says Hash Kitchen has increased wages for a lot of positions, and the company offers flexible schedules. Gamberg is encouraging anyone who is interested to apply online or visit one of their locations and speak with a manager.

“There’s always a manager on duty that’s ready and willing to hire,” says Gamberg.

 


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