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Restaurant jobs coming back sooner than expected

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Posted at 4:25 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 00:40:07-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Whitney Climenson noticed something at her recent shift at a Carslabd restaurant. It wasn’t nearly as crowded, and there were only three people on the clock - about half the normal level.

She's instead spending most of her time trying to get through to the Employment Development Department, and figure out why weeks of her jobless benefits are still unpaid.

“I would wait for hours on hold if it meant talking to somebody, but they just say ‘Oh, we can't take your call at this time,” Climenson said. Climenson's one of more than 200,000 San Diego County workers who lost their jobs in March and April amid the coronavirus pandemic - a number that many economists expected to grow in May.

“Here in San Diego a bigger portion of our economy is in food and drinking establishment employment, and so what we would see then is a big rebound in that area as well locally,” said Alan Gin, economist at the University of San Diego.

The hiring - already picking up locally.

Andrew Feghali just opened Dave’s Hot Chicken in Pacific Beach. He’s hosting a job fair Monday with at least 10 openings.

“We start above minimum wage, so we want to make sure we get the best and the brightest, and another perk is that you get free food,” Feghali said.

But like many restaurants, Dave’s is not opening for in-house dining - that means while hiring is picking up, many restaurant jobs won't come back for a while - if at all.