LI businesses say many positions open for hire, but fewer applications coming in
While the pandemic has taken a toll on Long Island’s economy, many businesses are now looking to hire so they can get back to business.
The federal Department of Labor says the unemployment rate went down last month because many businesses were hiring. In March, the unemployment rate edged down to 6%, adding 916,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.
According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor, there were big increases in the hospitality sector and in restaurants and bars as they started to increase capacity.
Selina Piscitelli, the manager at the Five Points Cafe in Sayville, says the recent increase in business is a welcome relief after the pandemic shutdown. However, she says she is seeing far fewer applicants than past years.
"It's been a little hard…usually by now we have a lot more applicants by this time of year. We don't have that many," Piscitelli says.
Eileen Tyznar, of the Sayville Chamber of Commerce, says the village is rebounding. However, she says that some stores and offices still need new workers. She worries that many residents are either still hesitant about the pandemic or just want to stay home.
"We are still finding some people are on unemployment and they are not coming back just yet. So, we are looking to hire some interim people," Tyznar says.
Christa Biondi, of Bagel Express in Sayville, says she worries that if they can't fill some of their positions, it could stunt their recovery.
"When our business is growing a little bit, it's taking a little longer because we're understaffed," she says.
Economist Mariano Torras, from Adelphi University, says he’s worried about the Long Island economy because of the quality of the jobs available. He says many of them are not very stable and are temporary or gig-based work.
"The majority of this job creation is not really what we would consider jobs in the traditional sense," he says.
Managers at Bagel Express say they'll keep trying to hire more people, hoping residents will want to get back to work.
The Labor Department says construction jobs also saw a large up-tick in new hires last month.