NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City restaurants are hiring. A career fair was held Thursday in Manhattan to help people looking for work.
Economists say U.S. job growth is moving much slower than expected, and among all sectors, restaurants seem to be having the hardest time finding applicants.READ MORE: 2 Islanders Games Postponed Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
People representing restaurants across New York City outnumbered job applicants at a job fair in Greenwich Village.
Peter Cheung, the owner of Hide Chan Ramen in Hell’s Kitchen, says he’s trying to offer incentives.
“With the unemployment benefits, most people prefer to stay home,” he said. “We have that situation where we have a couple servers, basically, they have young children at home.”
As summer nears, most Little Italy restaurants are preparing for increased demand.
Alexander Tisin, owner of Il Piccolo Bufalo, increased wages and is trying to nearly double staff.
“Porters, dishwashers, line cooks … went to work in the construction business, and they’re apparently still in the construction business,” he told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the issue Thursday.
“The unemployment’s gonna run out soon, but the jobs are here now, and you want those jobs, you gotta grab them soon. So I do think there’s an issue there, but I think that issue in many ways is gonna resolve itself simply because of the sheer logic,” he said.
The people CBS2 found applying at the job fair are not on unemployment.READ MORE: Stolen French Bulldog Found Safe On Long Island, Burglary Investigation Continues
“I need to make a little more money,” one applicant said.
“I’m looking to expand my job experience,” another applicant said.
But one group says this highlights the fact that the restaurant industry doesn’t have a worker shortage but a wage shortage.
Food runner Jose Franco stood with RAISE: High Road Restaurants, pushing for New York to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour plus tips for restaurant employees.
“Because they only pay $10, but the tip is going down,” he said.
Russell Jackson, the owner of Reverence in Harlem, says having a service charge has helped.
“We’re able to provide a higher level of service,” he said.
Both the Brooklyn and Queens chambers of commerce are seeing a multitude of problems.
“A lot of them owe back rent … Their inability to get their employees back could really push them to full closure,” said Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
“Guess what? If they wait until the very, very end, there may not be jobs to go back to,” said Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
Earlier this week, the president said those collecting unemployment who are offered a suitable job must take it or lose their benefits.MORE NEWS: David Robinson, 53, Arrested For Murder Of Woman Who Died After Falling Down Stairs At Subway Station
Meanwhile, the group One Fair Wage says that over 70% of restaurant workers surveyed are considering leaving the industry because of low wages.