(WFSB) – Since January, the Connecticut Department of Labor has reported the state has added 4,000 jobs.
The slow recovery comes amid a low positivity rate and the vaccine rollout.
The return of work also arrives in time for when industries like restaurants expect businesses to pickup thanks to a combination of fewer restrictions and nice weather leading to outdoor dining.
Leisure and hospitality saw some major grants.
The busier the restaurant is, the more hours it can give, but restaurateurs say they’ve put out multiple ads for several positions, but few applicants bite back.
“I’m finding that it’s very hard to find anybody, especially entry level people or people with just minimal skill sets right now,” said Lauren Siegel, La Piastra.
At Luky Lou's Bar and Grill in Old Wethersfield, it's a different scene but same story.
"You put out an ad, no response," said Lucas Kyriakos of Lucky Lou's Bar and Grill.
Owner Lucas Kyriakos is looking for servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff.
Doctor Brian Marks from the University of New Haven, an economics and business expert, says some job seekers may also be hesitant about returning to work because of virus concerns. Then, there's the issue of pay.
Competitive wages may also be hurting businesses who can’t afford to pay potential hires more than the $12 minimum wage, meaning seekers take the higher pay.
Not only are eateries worried about competitive hiring and wages, but food costs shot up too. If the trend continues, Kyriakos warns the industry will have to respond at the customers expense.
"Expect to pay more. Expect slower service. Expect to wait in line.
Lucky Lou's says if it can't find enough workers, it may have to seat fewer people, which could mean even longer wait times.