Extra federal unemployment dollars have ended so where are all the workers

Posted at 8:54 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 20:54:01-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — While a lot of people speculated that once the extra federal unemployment benefits ended, those who have been out of work would rush back to their jobs or new ones, but that doesn't appear to be happening at the level employers had hoped.

A lot of Americans are seeing the shortage at fast food restaurants and even Starbucks where a sign posted outside of one location in the Ann Arbor area shows that they've "adjusted" their hours so that they're now closing at 2:00 pm.

"We were hoping with the extra governmental subsidy on unemployment running out in September that we would have an onslaught of people coming in and we're just not seeing it," said Robert Speed, President of DEQ Property Services.

DEQ makes some of their money as a lawn maintenance company but 85-percent of their business is in snow and ice removal at commercial and residential properties.

Speed said they're now offering a starting pay of $20 an hour for part-time and full-time workers without experience.

"I don't think anybody's really in a pinch at this point," said DEQ's Jack Redburn. "Nobody really seems to be in a hurry to get back into the workforce."

CJ Eason, Community Outreach Director for Hired In Michigan says she's not surprised to see so many businesses shortening the hours they're open.

"I've been to several restaurants and it says, 'We're closed due to a staff shortage.'" Eason said.

"What is surprising to me is the number of individuals that are calling Hired In Michigan saying that they're looking for a position, but it's not adding up with the companies that are hiring. It's just not adding up.

Eason said there could be a disconnect between some jobseekers and those who are looking to fill positions. And then there are people who may not be interested in finding a job, at least not right now.

"They're still collecting unemployment and they still have to make that attempt to look for work," Eason said. "But then there's also a population of people that used to be in food service that said, 'You know what, I made a lot of money during the unemployment, and I got a lot of unemployment money, I don't want to go back to fast food." And Eason said some of those people may be looking to choose a different career path.

"Part of it is there's so many people hiring," Speed told 7 Action News.

The Metro Detroit Career Fair is taking place Wednesday at Best Western Hotel in Southfield from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The companies taking part in the career fair include Detroit Chassis, Michigan Legacy Credit Union, Mercedes Benz, Bridgewater Interiors, and National RV Detroit.

For information about the career fair, visit

And for information about employment with DEQ Property Services, you can call their main office at (248) 508-2869.