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Local business attributes hiring struggles to lofty unemployment payments

Posted at 8:45 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 08:38:15-04

LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — Despite massive unemployment because of COVID-19, one local business says it's having trouble filling job vacancies. The owner believes a combination of unemployment benefits are too generous.

"I'm competing with the federal government and the state government," Beebe told WXYZ.

In addition to the fear of COVID-19 keeping people at home, Beebe believes the federal government paying the unemployed an additional $600 dollars per week on top of state unemployment benefits has people going against the grain and not looking for work.

The state pays $362 dollars per week in benefits. Then there's the extra $600 per week from the federal coronavirus relief package. That equates to about $24 an hour. Beebe says he can't compete since he pays between $12 and $15 an hour.

"I would prefer people be made whole while they're on unemployment so they don't suffer, but giving them an $10 an hour bonus I think is a problem. I don't think it's a problem, I know it's a problem," he said.

While he says he's struggling to fill 18 more jobs, there are also large employees in our area looking to hire during this pandemic like Meijer, Ford Motor Company, and Amazon to name a few. Despite his dilemma, Beebe is optimistic.

"I'm not Chicken Little. The sky is not going to fall. We're going to get everybody back to work, and the economy is going to return. We're going to conquer this virus and ya know, then we'll be walking down the street holding hands again," he said.

The longtime business owner says he's suggested to his state representative that the unemployment agency pay people the same amount they earned at the jobs they lost. Beebe says that hasn't gone anywhere.

Beebe notes that safety measures are in place at his baked goods factory and that everyone has their temperature checked before entering the building.

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