In March 2020 when the pandemic hit, the restaurant where Amy Bieganek was working as a waitress announced a temporary closure. By August, it turned into a permanent one. Unemployment was a shock for Ms. Bieganek, 53, who had been working in the Minneapolis restaurant industry for 30 years. "That was heartbreaking," she said. "Being in the restaurant industry, I never thought I would be out of a job ever." She thought it might be time to explore a new career. After talking to a friend who is a real estate agent, Ms. Bieganek signed up for classes. In February 2021 she got her real estate license. From burned-out health care workers to parents looking for flexible careers during remote schooling to laid-off sales executives taking their skills to cash in on a booming market, real estate has drawn an abundance of workers while nearly every other industry has struggled with hiring. In 2021, there were a record number of real estate agents in the United States, according to the National Association of Realtors. More than 156,000 people joined their ranks in 2021 and 2020 combined — nearly 60 percent more than did in the two years prior. "At a… Read full this story
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