News7 In Depth


Michigan workers wanted, cash incentives to get them and why some are 'stuck' at home

Posted at 4:42 PM, May 03, 2021

The Hospitality Industry continues to work through the COVID-19 crisis. And many in it say it likely won’t be over for them for months.

“We were the first industry to be shut down and as you can see still, we’re going to be the last industry to come out of this pandemic,” says Justin Winslow the President and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association.

As of April, one third of operators say it will be 7 to 12 months before their business is back to normal. Another third says it will me more than a year; 10% said they doubt it will ever happen.


Apr2021 ImpactSurvey MI (1) by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

A worker shortage is driving this now. “It has become the number one issue. People are offering $1500 incentives. And in some instances, those are not enough to lure workers back into the industry for those jobs,” Winslow says.

Kara Frizzell Chambo was a working mom inside a dental office a year ago before Covid. They were shutdown by the Governor’s orders and she has not been back to work. She has a 3-year-old son with special needs and a new 5-month-old baby. For her, it is the cost of babysitting.

She tells 7 Action News, “Normally people want 10 to 15 dollars a kid especially when they’re younger at my age. So I would have to find a job that would pay the wages plus some for the child care to be able to bring anything home.”

The Federal stimulus money and unemployment has kept many people flush with cash at home but that may change. And people like Kara can feel stuck a second time.

“I am a little leery about them changing it back to have to show searching for work because I’m not sure how all of these moms and families who have kids in school are going to set up childcare without an income coming in. Yeah, like you said, stuck is kind of the right word. I’ve never been a stay at home mom so that in and of itself is new. I’ve worked since I was about 16.”

View the March unemployment rate by Michigan county here:

Courtesy Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

Ghosting is another problem with people applying for work.

“There is such a lack of supply out there right now that people are offering $1,500 incentives. And in some instances, those are not enough to lure workers back into the industry for those jobs. People are ghosting interviews … we’re hearing upwards of seventy five to 80 percent of interviews that get scheduled end up being no-shows,” said MRLA President & CEO Justin Winslow.


Many restaurants have reduced their menu items or the owner is coming in and working because of a lack of staff.

But, while restaurants have been forced to pare down, according to a recent survey from the MRLA, more and more Michiganders are feeling comfortable dining at local restaurants at this stage in the pandemic.