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Competition for restaurant workers up as unemployment drops

Posted at 1:31 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 18:38:53-04

Unemployment in New York State is now at a 10-year low.  According to the most recent figures from the State Labor Department, the number of people out of work in March 2017 was at the lowest level since February 2007.  

The biggest improvements were in downstate areas, but the Buffalo-Niagara region also saw an increase of 5,100 private sector and government jobs from March 2016 to March 2017.

While unemployment is down, the competition for restaurant workers is up.  Many local restaurants have been offering higher wages to attract employees.  One example, The Grange Community Kitchen in the Village of Hamburg is now offering $11/hour for dishwashers.

Brad Rowell, the co-owner with his wife Caryn, said he has to pay more to attract and keep good workers because other restaurants are looking to "poach" his employees.

Sous Chef Anthony Petrilli travels from Buffalo to Hamburg for his job and tells 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly that several of his friends in the restaurant business are having a hard time finding cooks.

While it does cost business owners more, Brad Rowell felt that it was good for the community and he thinks, in time, the situation will even out.

WNYJOBS.com said it is also seeing the growing demand for hotel, hospitality and restaurant workers.  Normally the free help-wanted paper is 32 - 36 pages, but this week, the number of ads required the publisher to expand it to 44 pages.

Ed Reilly has more in his reports.