The Connecticut Department of Labor reports that things are going in the "right direction" in the state. More jobs are being posted and several industries, including hospitality and manufacturing, are showing growth.
"Employers are telling us that they are trying to hire folks," Patrick Flaherty, director of research for CTDOL, said in a video that the department posted last week.
However, Flaherty explains, not all of the jobs are being filled.
“We have increasingly found evidence of employers attempting to hire and not being able to find folks to take those jobs," said Flaherty.
Restaurant owner Leo Roche says he is facing that exact problem. Roche owns the Harp & Hound in Mystic, the Black Sheep in Niantic, and the Brazen Hen in Westerly. He is hiring for all three of his restaurants, about 12 positions, and is struggling to find people to take the jobs.
“Never before did we have this problem. It’s been crazy," said Roche. "There’s like eight restaurants looking for the same person.”
The Whaler's Inn, also located in Mystic, is having a similar problem.
“There is a significant shortage in applicants out there right now," said Amanda Arling, president of The Whaler's Inn. "We definitely are seeing much fewer individuals applying for the jobs we have posted."
The struggle to fill jobs comes as the number of people out of work is still high. Connecticut's unemployment rate did take a slight dip, from 8.5% in February to 8.3% last month, but that compares to 3.8% in March of 2020.
"There will need to be some adjustments in the labor market. People who lost their job in the beginning of the pandemic probably hoped they would go back to the same job they had," said Flaherty. "This will require some adjustment as folks will have to position themselves for the types of jobs that are available in the Connecticut economy.”
The Whaler's Inn is hoping they can fill the open jobs soon, as they anticipate a busy summer.
"Hospitality is returning, not only in Mystic, but throughout New England and I think it is going to be a blockbuster summer," said Arling.
Roche feels the same way about his three restaurants.
“There’s going to be a lot more people out. A lot more people are getting vaccinated," said Roche. "We feel we are going to be very busy. Obviously we need our staff.”