Small businesses across the nation are facing ongoing struggles related to hiring due to additional unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a recent report on June 1 which characterized the national Worker Availability Ratio (WAR) number as currently being 1.4, meaning that for every available job, there are one to two people available for work.
President Joe Biden has previously denied accusations that the extension of federal unemployment benefits may be contributing to the unemployment numbers, even after the job’s report from April showed just 266,000 being added, a number far lower than predicted.
Former labor and transportation secretary under former Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump, Elaine Chao slammed the current unemployment rate on Wednesday during an interview with “The Story” on Fox News.
Chao explained that while the unemployment payments are meant to “help people who are vulnerable,” and are “going through a difficult period,” that they don’t want the payments to give people “the wrong incentive.”
The economy fell slightly short of predictions and added 559,000 new jobs in May after a bleak jobs report the month prior.
“It’s great to see a pickup to job growth, but it would have been better to see a larger acceleration.”https://t.co/3jtGCOXTVn
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 7, 2021
Even with the decrease in the unemployment rate, business owners across the U.S. are reporting ongoing struggles finding and hiring employees, even as states such as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee have already announced plans to end the additional federal unemployment benefits related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Forbes reported.
California celebrity chef and founder of Slapfish Seafood Andrew Gruel told the Daily Caller that even after offering $20 to $25 an hour for entry-level positions, people still haven’t taken jobs. He added that he’s increased wages to $30 in some positions, “and nothing.”
“I think there’s multiple factors that are contributing to this,” Gruel said. “First and foremost … some people are getting enough money on unemployment to kind of wait this thing through.”
“I think that’s more of a result, especially here in California of the constant yo-yo-ing, open-close, open-close,” he said.
In order to attract people into applying for jobs, big corporations such as McDonald’s or pet food retailer, Chewy have started offering incentives such as sign-on bonuses or giving employees free iPhones after they’ve worked with the company for a certain amount of time.
Jordin Durante, co-owner and chef at The SpeakEasy Saloon & Resort in Union Dale, Pennsylvania, explained to the Caller that as opposed to the bigger corporations which can afford to dish out bigger incentives, her restaurant is a “small, family-owned business,” and “can’t offer stuff like that.”
“At the end of the day, all the mom-and-pop restaurants are taking the biggest hit from this,” Durante explained.
“It’s sad that nobody wants to help the small businesses, but we want to help McDonald’s or Dunkin or Texas Roadhouses. They’re never going to go under, ever,” Durante said.
Antonio Capuano, owner and chef of Pasticcio Fresh Italian Kitchen in Annapolis, Maryland, explained to the Caller that the hiring shortage is also affecting the supply chain. Every week he discovers prices of certain items he needs from vendors have become “astronomical” in price or out of stock.
“The wings and cheese market, in general, are crazy expensive,” Capuano said. Another example, essential to his business, is fryer oil, which jumped up in price. Durante similarly echoed Capuano’s sentiments of seeing “astronomical,” price increases across the supply chain. Recently, this was exacerbated by the fuel shortage caused after Colonial Pipeline, one of the major fuel pipelines in the United States was hit by a cyber attack.
“On the packaging and processing side, those people can’t find people to process and package,” Gruel said. He added that the distributors were unable to find people to load and drive the trucks. (RELATED: 72% Of Trump Voters Say unemployment Handouts Kills Motivation To Join The Workforce, Poll Finds)
While the majority of Republican-led states have either already opted out or expressed the ending of the additional $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits in the near future, many Democratic-led states are still allowing unemployed Americans to collect the additional $300 a week which is set to end in September, CNN reported.
An economic report released by the job search website Indeed in May showed a 5% increase in job search postings in the states that have already slashed the additional federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic.
Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, and Mississippi are set to get rid of federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic starting June 12, while another 21 Republican-led states have plans to slash the federal benefits before Sept. 6.
“There should be no one collecting unemployment unless you are desperately in need of it,” explained Lisa Pardington, the owner of Canton’s Holiday Market, a gourmet grocery store located in Canton, Michigan.
While the restaurant and hospitality industries have experienced the brunt of difficulties in hiring during the pandemic, other industries have been left trying to fill vacancies.
Darby LaJoye, acting head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), sent out a memo to office workers requesting that they help work security checkpoints, warning that roughly 131 of the nation’s airports will face staffing shortages this season, The Washington Post reported.
The Transportation Security Administration issued a memo warning that 131 of the nation’s largest airports will face staffing shortages this month while asking office workers to volunteer to assist with airport checkpoints https://t.co/vgdiMabCFp
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 9, 2021
The town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, has found itself struggling to fill almost two dozen lifeguard positions in their efforts to hire 105 lifeguards for the season, even as they offer employees higher wages and incentives.
“I don’t think the money is the issue, quite honestly,” Patti Machado, the recreation director for the town of Barnstable told the Caller. “I think it’s more of an issue of what the responsibilities are, and going through COVID-19, I think people are a little more in tune with what a lifeguard does now.”
Many more business owners across the nation, specifically in the restaurant industry have continued to report experiencing hiring struggles, even after offering waitstaff $20 to $30 an hour.
During a press conference last Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that Biden is open to considering the options of sending out a fourth stimulus check, amidst ongoing pressure from many Democratic officials to send out another round of stimulus checks, ML Live reported.
“He’s happy to hear from a range of ideas on what would be most effective and what’s most important to the economy moving forward,” Psaki explained.
While most Democrats largely support some type of continued federal unemployment benefits program, many conservatives have been advocating for the ending of the unemployment benefits related to the pandemic, stressing the point that now that the pandemic is under control, continuing to pay people additional money each week only encourages people not to look for work.
Glenn Hubbard, professor of economics and finance at Columbia University and chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bush, pointed out that the longer these benefits stay in place, the longer it takes people to search for jobs and return back to work.
Hubbard further argued in the article that based on the most recent jobs report released, future policies should be in favor of trying to bring people back to work and training them in the skills needed for certain jobs.