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  • Writer's pictureHeather Janssen

News Article: Could It Cost You? Economists Say Worker Shortage Could Lead to Consumer Impacts

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On the road to reopening, more jobs are hitting the market. But there may be more jobs than people who want to take them.

Downtown Sacramento restaurant, Brasserie Capitale, is among the many businesses looking to hire, and strategically using social media posts to advertise open jobs. Other businesses are considering more competitive wages, but financial experts warn of the implications that could cost customers.

“All of us who are working have to work harder and work more,” said Aziz Bellarbi-Salah, the restaurant’s general manager. He hears the problem is being felt across the service industry.

“There is definitely a glut of jobs and a lack of hands to fill positions,” he said.

Bartenders, servers, kitchen staff — a quick search online can show thousands of open jobs across the Sacramento region. Restaurants, too, aren’t alone.

“Friends of mine in office and in corporate are looking for hands, too,” said Bellarbi-Salah. The issue has been ongoing for months now.

But at what point could this shortage cost the consumer? Financial expert Sanjay Varshney believes it's already happening.

“Those labor costs in most cases — 99.9% of the time will be passed onto the consumer, and it’s already happening,” Varshney said.

Prices could be on the rise in some cases, as some businesses may have to utilize more competitive wages to attract employees as many ride out unemployment benefits.

Varshney believes this current market is ‘transitory,’ and won’t be around for too long.

“I do expect this shakeout to take place over the next few months,” Varhsney said. “By this time next year, we’re going to be in a much more positive environment.”

In the meantime, Bellarbi-Sellah keeps waiting, eager to grow his staff.

“Anybody out there looking for a good solid gig,” he said. “I’d love to have you on one of my teams.”

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