Nick Apostolopoulous, owner of 619 Spirits in North Park wears many different hats these days.
He works the bar, acts as host, manages the restaurant, all while planning and organizing day-to-day operations. And his employees, the ones that have stuck around, also do what they can to keep the place running.
“Everyone that can is already working six days a week to help us try and cover those shifts,” said Apostolopoulous.” That's going to get stretched even more unless we can hire someone.”
Like many small businesses in the area, 619 Spirits is struggling to find help.
“In the last two months we’ve probably already hired and gone through 10-15 people at least,” said Apostolopoulous.
Apostolopoulos blames pandemic-related unemployment benefits for the shortage but Alan Gin, an economics professor at the University of San Diego, says it could be due to the simple fact that people searching for a job right now have a lot to chose from.
“A lot of businesses are trying to reopen at the same time, so they're all trying to hire workers and as a result, there is a lot of competition and workers then find they have a lot of options,” said Gin.
According to a recently released jobs report, the U.S. economy added 559,000 more jobs in May.
“The labor market is really competitive right now and businesses are having to pay employees more and maybe treat them a little bit better,” said Gin.
The May jobs report offered signs to corroborate just that. According to the report, the average hourly was 6.4% higher for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry.
Apostolopoulous says he too has boosted his wages but had no luck.
“We’ve posted a couple of ads in the last week and usually we get some traction, but the last few ads, which we bumped the ads on, we got no responses,” said Apostolopoulous.
“I think it is temporary,” said Gin. “Once things stabilize in the future, the situation will get a lot better.”
As for what happens next, its hard to say but Gin expects the uncertainty wont last forever.