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Short-staffed restaurant desperate for more workers as state unemployment falls to historic low

San Mateo County's historic low unemployment is tough for businesses who need help
San Mateo County's historic low unemployment is tough for businesses who need help 02:45

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Reaching a historic record low, unemployment in California fell to 3.9 percent, in July. San Mateo County leads the state at 1.9% with San Francisco, Santa Clara and Marin Counties not far behind at 2.1%, according to the California Employment Development Department.

At Margaritas Mexican Restaurant in Redwood City, owner Ramon Bravo has seen a lot in his 21 years in business. But he says this has been the hardest for him. He desperately needs four more workers, but he can't find anyone to do it. Now he's short-staffed all the time.

"Sometimes, we get a lot of people," said Bravo. "And we don't have enough workers."

"Oh no question!" said Michael Bernick, EDD's former director. "As of the most recent data here in California the last day of June, we had over 1.1 million job openings, so employers are having difficulty especially for a certain segment of jobs continue to have great difficulty in finding any workers."

Bernick is an employment attorney. He said it's definitely a job seeker market at least for now.

"In the more than 40 years that I've been involved, this is one of the best job markets," said Bernick. "Certainly the tightest labor market over the past 40 years we've had here in California. I think though it's going to change."

Bernick said he thinks the labor market will begin to turn. He believes unemployment rates will creep back up soon, likely in the next couple of months.

In the meantime, Ramon wishes he could hire more employees like his loyal employee Adan who's been working for him for 10 years now. But he said all he can do is hope for the best.

"What can I do exactly? Just gotta wait and see how it's going," said Bravo. "How tomorrow is going to turn."

Bravo said it has been hard these last couple of years. He recently suffered a stroke and said the pandemic was tough on his business. He is hoping he can find more employees soon.

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