‘Almost no one applying’ – business says it has more than 30 job openings | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly
The owner of Dot’s Diners four locations says they now offer more than you can make on enhanced unemployment, but still can’t hire people.
NEW ORLEANS — Mississippi and Alabama are joining a growing number of states that plan to withdraw from expanded federal unemployment benefits.
Republican governors in those states claim the jobless assistance makes it too easy for people not to return to work.
Dot’s Diner was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week before the Coronavirus pandemic. Now owner Larry Katz says he can barely find enough workers to keep his four New Orleans area restaurants open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We have 30 to 35 openings, almost no one is applying online,” Katz said. “No one is walking in an applying.”
Katz’s frustration is felt across a wide swath of businesses as they attempt to emerge from the Covid-19 recession. Some states are now putting workers on notice, they will soon end expanded federal jobless benefits.
That includes the $300 weekly supplement and payments to gig workers such as freelancers and independent contractors. The benefits were approved by Congress as a way of helping Americans during the pandemic.
Senator John Kennedy, R-Louisiana says now the federal boost may be helping to fuel a labor shortage.
“People are not morons, they make rational economic decisions and if they can make more money from plan A than plan B, they’re going to choose plan A,” Kennedy said.
So far, there is no push to end the federal benefits in Louisiana. But Senator Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana says maybe the governor and the state legislature should consider it.
“You can argue that we only begin to emerge from the great financial crisis when those benefits begin to be cut back,” Cassidy said.
Ben Zucker, co-director of Step-up Louisiana says unemployment insurance has been a lifeline for businesses and families throughout the pandemic.
In a statement he said in part, “Louisiana should not terminate our Pandemic Unemployment Insurance program…While vaccines are allowing life to return to normal in many communities, immunocompromised workers and elderly workers are still at an unprecedented risk of sickness and death.”
Back at Dot’s Diner, management raised employee pay to compete with federal unemployment benefits.
“We’re paying substantially more than what you can earn on unemployment, but still people aren’t coming out to work,” Katz said.
Katz says his worker shortage is not just about the federal payments.
He admits some people have expressed childcare issues and others are still reluctant to return to work because they fear catching the coronavirus.
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