SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A record 649,000 retail workers quit their jobs in April across the nation, the largest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the data in 2000.
Those workers are adding to a hiring crunch already plaguing San Diego businesses.
Angelica Sele could use some good people for her South Park beauty boutique. After all, she just moved Angelica B. Beauty into a larger spot on 30th Street.
"It was definitely worth it because I knew that this was our location to do everything I wanted to do," she said.
Sele's looking to hire another four people, but the search has been a struggle.
"There's no one applying," she said. "Before I used to put a job listing out on Craigslist and in that week I would have 40 applicants that I'd have to filter through but now if I'm lucky maybe two a month."
The question many are asking now is where those workers went. In the pandemic, some workers retrained for more in-demand fields such as tech, biotech, advanced manufacturing, health care, and education. Others remain home with childcare issues or COVID-19 concerns. Unemployment is also being boosted by $300 per week through Sept. 7.
Some found jobs with better hours.
Rachel King, co-founder of the Kaneh company, an edibles manufacturer in Miramar, says she's hired workers from restaurants, grocery stores, and the music industry during the pandemic.
"When the pandemic started we had a boom in business, and we did a huge hiring at the time," she said.
King said even if the pay isn't significantly better, the hours make a huge difference.
Eddie Lopez lost his job at a concert venue when COVID-19 hit.
"Having weekends off is something I didn't have before, but having weekends off is a little joy," he said.
The San Diego Workforce Partnership offers resources such as retraining programs.