Some local business owners hopeful end of unemployment benefits will lead to new hires

Posted at 5:47 AM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 06:58:16-04

(WXYZ) — Now that federal unemployment benefits are over, some industries are hoping this will help the current worker shortage we are seeing across the country and in metro Detroit.

Job openings in the U.S. hit a record 10.9 million back in July. The leisure and hospitality industry accounted for nearly 2 million of them.

Experts say we shouldn't expect a big change in the job market very quickly, but companies are still looking at ways to attract new workers.

Business leaders here in Detroit's oldest neighborhood say they are going through what they call the pandemic - part two, the current labor shortage. But now that unemployment money has stopped coming in, they are banking on people who need money in their bank accounts to come in, get hired and start working to help ease the shortage

Bob Roberts, the owner of McShane's Irish Pub in Corktown, is also the president of the Corktown Business Association. Like everywhere else, he's short-staffed.

"It's been a constant struggle since the pandemic to be fully staffed. Currently, we are short nine people," he said.

That number could change now that unemployment benefits are over.

"Well you know once people start running out of money we got the holidays coming, maybe that will get people out," he said.

Other restaurant owners don't think the stop to the benefits will make a difference.

"I don't think I am optimistic as some of the reports I have seen that once the federal subsidy funds out there is going to be this huge influx," Robert Morton, the owner of Lily's Seafood Grill and Brewery in Royal Oak, said.

He's trying everything he can to attract workers, from job ads on social media, to increasing pay.

"We have reached out to culinary schools and colleges and even high schools to try and get people to come in and it's unprecedented how low the response is," he said.

Orton said before the pandemic, workers were leaving the restaurant industry.

"A lot of folks turned to the gig economy, Uber and GrubHub and those industries that offer a lot of flexibility for folks," he said.

"Most of the people that I have talked have gone to work for amazon or the post office," Roberts said.

Both owners say they are focused on keeping the staff they have and making them feel comfortable.

Roberts say he's confident that things will get back to normal. There are so many openings. All they need is for people to come in, happy, get hired and stay.

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