NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The governor’s office says the leisure and hospitality industry has bounced back. They say data compiled from the state Environment Department, the City of Albuquerque, and Bernalillo County shows about 9,700 restaurants were permitted by the end of June 2022. They say more that’s 350 more than before the pandemic. In Nob Hill, there are several new restaurants that have popped up in the last year alone.

As for jobs, the Department of Workforce Solutions says the hospitality and leisure workforce is also bouncing back. There are now 600 more employees than there were in March 2020. It is important to note, that those numbers also include hotels and other tourism-based businesses.

Workforce Solutions officials say high demand for workers is keeping help wanted signs up. “We’re seeing a demand for restaurants and the hospitality industry for sure. People are coming out of the pandemic. They’re ready to go out, they’re ready to eat, they’re ready to travel. So we’re seeing that demand in that industry in terms of employment. and so businesses are really ramping up their services and the demand is there,” said Stacy Johnston, Marketing and Communications Director, Workforce Solutions.

The Restaurant Associations said earlier this month that restaurants are still having trouble hiring. Carol Wright with the association said in a statement that the fact that restaurants can’t open consistently and the abundance of help wanted signs shows labor is a problem, although it’s getting better. The Department of Workforce Solutions says they also offer services to help connect employers to those who are looking for jobs.