National worker shortage continues to impact businesses, including Tampa Bay restaurants

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Restaurants across Tampa Bay are still desperately searching for workers.

Skipper’s Smokehouse recently reopened after shutting down for a year due to the pandemic.

“Here we are doing the best we can under the current constraints of supply chain problems and rising costs,” said Cricket Larson, the chief cook.

Larson said they’re also struggling to hire help.

“Certainly I feel like we’re still in the middle of the pandemic. It’s not over, so we’re still battling those things,” she said.

The restaurant made several adjustments just to endure since they opened back in July.

Many of their workers are cross-trained, so they can tackle different jobs for now.

“Myself, I’ve jumped in and done some things. We have a general manager that’s a former bartender here for 20 years, Pedro. He can hop in behind the bar and sling drinks if it’s needed. So we’ve just had to pivot a lot,” she continued.

The labor market had been rebounding with 940,000 jobs added in July, but last month those numbers took a nose dive.

“The economy created 235,000 new jobs in August. The unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, the lowest it’s been in 18 months,” said President Joe Biden.

Despite the low numbers, job openings remain at record levels, especially in the retail and restaurant industries.

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