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Cooks Being Snatched Up In San Francisco's Booming Restaurant Industry

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— San Francisco's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in six years, but for those in the restaurant industry, the booming economy is making it hard for some small businesses to fill their job openings.

Chef and owner Brad Levy is in a hurry to hire two line cooks for his Noe Valley restaurant, Firefly, at 24th and Douglass. In three weeks he's only received two applicants, neither of which responded to his follow-up efforts.

"There's an increase in demand in restaurants with all the wealth that's in the city right now, so there's more restaurants, less cooks and what cooks there are, are being snatched up for private cooking jobs," said Levy.

The city's unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in April, well below the 7.3 percent seen statewide. Levy said restaurants are competing for talent.

Cooks Being Snatched Up In San Francisco's Booming Restaurant Industry

"A lot of restaurants are offering incentives. Bigger restaurants can afford transportation credits and Uber gift cards; whatever they can. I don't have any room to build a gym here in the back, so I can't offer that to my employees."

A report from South Mountain Economics, whose expertise is in emerging occupations and industries, said San Francisco added 67,000 private sector jobs since 2010.

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