The U.S. Department of Labor announced this week that 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November. Job openings, however, have decreased from 10.6 million to 11.1 million.
That number is still a record high.
However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this could be looked at from a positive perspective.
“Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations,” read the bureau’s report. “When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising.”
In December, One Fair Wage (a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of tipped restaurant workers), warned of “severe disruptions” when dining out during the holidays with workers not willing to risk their lives due to the easily transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The organization said workers aren’t willing to risk their lives for tips.
“Hundreds of thousands of service workers across the state of New York are fed up with the low wages and poor working conditions in the restaurant industry, including the subminimum wage for tipped workers that persists in New York, which is a direct legacy of slavery,” stated Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage. “The industry is in crisis. Unless wages go up immediately statewide, thousands of workers will continue to organize and many more will continue to leave.”
A lot of this ire could be directed to Albany. New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul has touted her experience as a former tipped worker and called for the elimination of subminimum wage for those kinds of employees.
According to Jayaraman, the ball is in her court. “She has the power to do so right now, before the end of the year, through a simple executive action,” Jayaraman said.
Michael Fuquay, owner of the Queensboro and leader in RAISE High Road Restaurant, said,
“Long before I owned a restaurant, I worked in a restaurant as a busboy, dishwasher, bartender, server. I think it’s important for us to have a kind of industry that good people want to stay in.
“With low wages, people don’t feel there is a future. We as an industry have to change to be the best we can be. We’re trying to make that a reality as much as we can here at The Queensboro.”
One Fair Wage’s own report, titled “Closed Due to Low Wages: The Ongoing Exodus of Workers From the NY Restaurant Industry & The Looming Impact on Consumers,” showed that since December 2019, New York State made up 12% of all restaurant workers who left the industry with a 18% overall decline in the overall workforce of any U.S. state or territory. The report stated as of May 2021, 53% of all restaurant workers still in the industry planned on leaving.
And job shortages aren’t only found in the restaurant industry. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, Missouri’s social services are in dire straits.
Communications Workers of America Local 6355 officials told Pew that the state’s child welfare workers are being assigned as many as 50 cases, which is double the normal amount. Citizens with questions regarding public assistance are on hold for hours before speaking with a worker.