The labor shortage continues to wreak havoc with many small businesses across the country notwithstanding the addition of some 23,000 in the leisure and hospitality industry last month with restaurants and bars accounting for nearly half that job growth, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, average hourly earnings rose 4.8 percent in November compared to the prior year for all private industries, but registered 12 percent above 2020 wages for the leisure and hospitality industries. Overall, the 210,000 jobs created nationally in November was less than half the 550,000 that most economists anticipated, while the 11,000 positions added in the restaurant and bar category brings the industry total up to 11.55 million people employed – still 750,000 jobs below pre-pandemic levels. Despite the lower than anticipated jobs growth, the unemployment rate in November dropped to 4.2 percent nationally. At the same time, the Business Journal reports on new data released by a payroll service that indicates that average bonuses given by small business owners struggling to retain workers in the current labor market has more than tripled from $552 in 2020 to $1,675 today!