A short-staffed restaurant owner is delivering pizza himself, while his co-owner wife has stepped into their vacant general manager role. In another restaurant’s kitchen, a cook with no experience is working the stoves. A usually competitive trainer job at a gym has been open for months.
As the American economy awakens from the slumber of COVID-19, the job market is shape-shifting in ways economists and business owners say they haven’t seen before — and the transition in California is particularly patchy.
Job seekers are ignoring positions they once jumped at. Employers are straining to hire as they gauge whether the difficulties are temporary or signify a more lasting shift.
“We’re being ghosted” by job candidates, said Ashley Richardson, who owns two 9Round kickboxing gyms, in Long Beach and Riverside. “It’s crazy.”
Until a few months ago, a trainer opening at the gym would get up to a dozen applicants within …