Some Boston hotels, restaurants still desperate for workers as business returns

Some Boston hotels, restaurants still desperate for workers as business returns

BOSTON – The city of Boston is alive on the eve of Labor Day, with thousands of college students and their families back in town.

Despite the boom in business, some hotels and restaurants say they still cannot reach the same staff levels that they had before the pandemic.

“Staffing, labor, has been an incredible challenge. I’ve never felt more overwhelmed with the lack of people who want to work,” said Amy Finsilver, the General Manager at XV Beacon Hotel.

This summer, Finsilver says business came back to pre-pandemic levels starting with the Boston Marathon. Her staffing levels did not come back forcing her to personally fill jobs like concierge, front desk, and valet.

“We’re still operating with a little less than half the staff that we had pre-pandemic,” Finsilver said

According to the latest jobs report, the labor market remains strong. The economy added 315,000 jobs in August. Unemployment rose to 3.7% from 3.5% in July. According to the US Department of Labor there are still two jobs for every one unemployed worker.

At Tuscan Kitchen in the Seaport, the situation is not quite as dire. The restaurant’s general manager, Charlie Wright, says 85% of his staff stayed on through the pandemic while the rest left the restaurant industry altogether.

“Really the heart of this restaurant and it’s success are the people,” Wright said.

Finsilver has now resorted to recruiting and training people outside of the hotel industry. She wonders if the workforce will every fully return.

“Why work for a 365 day, open 24-hour business when they can work from home, change their hours,” she said.

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