As state leaders continue to loosen COVID-19 protocols, portions of the local economy are beginning to reopen in full.

But are these reopenings and the slow return to normalcy in the community creating more employment opportunities for those in search of work?

Market analysts say few industries have seen more fluctuation since the pandemic began than those working within the so-called gig economy.

At the beginning of the pandemic, more people turned to ride-sharing or delivery opportunities to bring in more money when many businesses were shutting down.

Later on in the pandemic, unemployment benefits made some turn away from low wage jobs and choose to wait for a better opportunity to present itself.

That's why some believe it may be some time before restaurants and other gig economy businesses are back to full staff levels.

Erin Hatton, associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, added that more people are looking for jobs that supply health care benefits — something not often offered by gig economy positions.