Businesses still struggling to attract workers, owner blames pandemic benefits


ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — An Atlanta business owner says he’s still having trouble staffing his restaurant.

“I come in I do the sweeping and mopping all the janitorial work, I’m running food, I’m waiting,” Bill Brown, owner of There on Fifth, said. He added getting people back in the workforce is a big challenge because wages for jobs like this don’t match up to pandemic unemployment benefits.

“They’ve been collecting these checks, and then being incentivized not to work,” Brown said.

Brown isn’t alone in blaming COVID-19 federal unemployment programs for the shortage in low wage workers. Since April, governors in 25 states have announced plans to terminate the boosts shy of the September expiration date in an effort to get workers off the sidelines.

“I think once these checks, suspend, more people will be willing to go back out and start working again,” Brown said.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced they will stop passing along the extra $300 effective June 26.

Data shows there are now more jobs than those seeking work, a 180 from this time last year.  Business owners are finding creative ways to hire and retain workers. 

“I’m a small operation,” Brown said. “I don’t have the ability or deep pockets to be able to offer sign on bonuses, what we’re contemplating is if they stay on [for] 90 days we’ll give them an incentive.”

Still, some lawmakers, including Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, argue the labor shortage is more complicated .

“Access to quality childcare is a huge problem,” she said Thursday. “Transportation is a huge problem, [so is] housing.”

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