For more than a year, our country longed for the economy to restart. But now that businesses are once again open, employers find themselves wondering where all the workers have gone.
In my town of Durango, Colorado, labor shortages have deeply affected the entire community. One business owner is Juvenal Corona, originally from Mexico, who co-owns Nayarit, one of Durango’s most popular Mexican restaurants. Since COVID-19 restrictions lifted in the spring, he’s been short-staffed and says he’s never worked harder in his 20 years in the restaurant business.
The main reason he cites: The red-hot real estate market, along with historically high rents that have made it difficult to recruit employees.
“In my 10 years with Nayarit, we’ve never closed due to a lack of workers,” Corona explained. “But recently we were forced to close each of our locations one day a week.” He and his staff are doing their best; all he asks is that customers “show a little more compassion when it comes to waiting for their orders.”
Like many restaurants, Nayarit depends on a combination of native-born workers and immigrants to function. In recent months, though, neither group has been showing up.