The turnover rates for hourly and supervisory-level restaurant employees climbed in April to the highest levels in decades, leaving three out of four places constantly understaffed, according to just-released data from People Report.
“This is to be expected, considering that the national unemployment rate is now as low as it has been in the last 50 years,” says Victor Fernandez, VP of insights and knowledge for the labor researcher’s parent company, TDn2K.
The latest data from the federal government shows unemployment falling on a national basis to 3.8% in May. People Report regards a 4% level as a sign of full employment. It has noted that 10 states have unemployment rates of 3% or lower.
Among the factors worsening the situation for restaurants is mounting competition from Uber, Grubhub or other examples of the so-called gig economy, Fernandez notes. Those quasi-self-employment situations are seen as appealing to potential restaurant hires because of the flexibility and autonomy they offer.
In releasing preliminary data for April, People Report stressed its earlier-disclosed findings on slowing turnover. The most effective ways to bolster retention are by raising compensation, deepening managers’ engagement and providing more training to employees at all levels, according to the researcher.