An unemployed bartender’s search for work and stability


There were about 2 million fewer jobs in bars and restaurants in October than there were before the pandemic. That means a lot of unemployed bartenders and waitstaff are competing for the jobs that remain. Neil Cairns, one of the 10 people we’ve been following in our series “The United States of Work,” is one of them.

The Game Knight Lounge, the bar where Cairns used to work, closed temporarily in the spring, reopened in the summer, then shut its doors permanently in August. Since then, Cairns has been unemployed. The following is an edited transcript of his conversation with “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal about searching for work in the pandemic economy.

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