Democrats’ Massive Spending Bill Leading To Unfortunate Yet Obvious Economic Results

Republican Warnings About Democrats’ Spending Spree Are Coming True As Business Owners Have To Compete With Enhanced Unemployment Benefits As They Struggle To Hire Workers


The April Jobs Report Was ‘The Biggest Miss, Relative To Expectations, In Decades’

“Hiring was a huge letdown in April, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by a much less than expected 266,000 and the unemployment rate rose to 6.1% amid an escalating shortage of available workers. Dow Jones estimates had been for 1 million new jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.8%. Many economists had been expecting an even higher jobs number amid signs that the U.S. economy was roaring back to life.” (“April’s Expected Hiring Boom Goes Bust As Nonfarm Payroll Gain Falls Well Short Of Estimates,” CNBC, 5/07/2021)

“The weak jobs numbers fueled complaints from business groups that the $300 per week unemployment benefit, approved by Democrats in March, is discouraging workers from returning to the labor market.” (“Economic Tremors Hit White House At Crucial Moment For Biden Policy Agenda,” The Washington Post, 5/12/2021)


Employers Say ‘They Cannot Find Enough Workers To Fill Their Open Positions And Meet The Rising Customer Demand’

“Economic activity is expected to surge in Delaware and across the country as people who missed 2020 getaways head for vacations and the newly vaccinated spend savings amassed during months at home. Yet as they race to hire before an expected summertime economic boom, employers are voicing a complaint that is echoing all the way to the White House: They cannot find enough workers to fill their open positions and meet the rising customer demand.” (“I.P.A. Signing Bonuses and Free Subs: Luring Labor as a Beach Economy Booms,” The New York Times, 5/11/2021)

  • “An April labor market report underscored those concerns. Economists expected companies to hire one million people, but data released on Friday showed that they had added only 266,000, even as vaccines became widely available and state and local economies began springing back to life…. Some [analysts] blame expanded unemployment benefits, which are giving an extra $300 per week through September, for keeping workers at home and hiring at bay. Republican governors in Arkansas, Montana and South Carolina moved last week to end the additional benefits for unemployed workers in their states, citing companies’ labor struggles.” (“I.P.A. Signing Bonuses and Free Subs: Luring Labor as a Beach Economy Booms,” The New York Times, 5/11/2021)


Earlier This Year Leader McConnell Warned Extending Additional Federal Unemployment Benefits As The Economy Was Prepared To Recover Would ‘Discourage Hiring, Discourage A Return To Work, And Actually Keep Things Shut Down Longer’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY), February 24th: “Unfortunately, the Democrats’ partisan proposal would not just be wasteful, but in certain areas, actively counterproductive. It would have Washington go out of our way to discourage hiring, discourage a return to work, and actually keep things shut down longer. … [T]ake their proposal for another long-term extension of a big federal supplement to unemployment benefits. Even in the middle of last year, it was a questionable policy to pay people more to stay home than essential workers were earning on the job. Now, another long-term flat supplement would make even less sense. Here’s how one leading economist puts it. Quote: ‘In an expanding economy that is putting the virus behind it, paying people more in unemployment than they could receive from working is an act of substantial economic self-harm. It would keep workers on the sidelines, stop the unemployment rate from falling as rapidly as it otherwise would, and slow the overall recovery.’” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/24/2021)

  • SEN. McCONNELL, March 5th: “By one analysis, the Democrats’ extra cash bonus for laid-off workers who stay home will result in more than 60% of workers earning more money by staying home than they’d earn from returning to work. This isn’t state unemployment insurance, it’s borrowing from our kids and grandkids to pay yet an additional cash bonus for not working. This would extend deep into 2021, when we anticipate serious job growth. … Here’s what the Washington Post says about this mess: ‘For policy experts and even members of Biden’s own party, the improving picture is raising questions about whether the stimulus bill is mismatched to the needs of the current moment.’ It’s mismatched, all right. Because it was never designed to meet Americans’ needs. The goal was to ‘restructure things to fit’ their ‘vision.’” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/05/2021)


Two Months Ago, Republicans Argued That Congress Should Avoid Creating Disincentives To Work, But Senate Democrats All Voted For An Amendment To Their Massive Spending Bill To Extend These Extra Payments Through September

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH), March 5th: “I urge my colleagues to oppose unnecessarily lengthening the time of the Federal UI supplement that would make it even more advantageous to be on unemployment and would slow the job creation we all want. Our amendment strikes the right balance. It helps those who truly need it, promotes better stewardship of our taxpayer dollars, and encourages those who can return to work to do so.” (Sen. Portman, Congressional Record, S.1232, 3/05/2021)

  • SEN. PORTMAN: “[E]verybody around here agrees that the U.S. economy is getting better--there is no argument about that--and that workers are needed. Yet, in this massive partisan spending bill, a lot of which is not even about COVID-19, the Democrats are insisting on a substantial increase to the already extraordinary Federal Government add-on to State unemployment payments, making it harder to get people who can go back to work…. Look at your own States. Employers are looking to hire people. ‘Help Wanted’ signs are up. As the economy starts to improve, we want to get people back to work…. Despite the better news, as we understand it, the Democrats’ approach actually extends the generous Federal supplement currently in place until September … The underlying bill and the Democrats’ alternative are going to hurt the effort to get people back to work.” (Sen. Portman, Congressional Record, S.1232, 3/05/2021)

But every single Senate Democrat voted for an amendment to keep these additional payments going out through September 2021. (S.Amdt.1378 to S.Amdt.891 to H.R.1319, Roll Call Vote #79: Adopted 50-49: D 48-0; R 0-49; I 2-0, 3/06/2021)

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): “We have this discussion about ‘going back’ or ‘reopening’ — I think a lot of people should just say, ‘No, we’re not going back to that.’” (“AOC Says Reopening the Economy Shouldn’t Mean Returning to 70-Hour Workweeks,” Vice News, 4/22/2020)


Biden Administration Officials And Prominent Democrats All Denied That The Extra Unemployment Money In Their Stimulus Bill Could Encourage People To Stay Home Instead Of Taking A New Job

PRESIDENT BIDEN: “I know there’s been a lot of discussion since Friday — since Friday’s [April 2021 jobs] report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work. Well, we don’t see much evidence of that.” (“Remarks by President Biden on the Economy,” Washington, DC, 5/10/2021)

TREASURY SECRETARY JANET YELLEN: “You know, I don’t think that the additional — the addition to unemployment compensation is really the factor that’s making a difference. There’s no question that we’re hearing from businesses that they are having difficulty hiring workers…. So, you know, starting up an economy again, trying to get it back on track after a pandemic in which there are a lot of supply bottlenecks is going to be, I think, a bumpy process. But I really don’t think the major factor is the extra unemployment.” (White House Press Briefing, 5/07/2021)

Q: “So, employment only rose by about 266,000 jobs in April out of 7.4 million or so job openings. How does the White House know that people are just choosing not to apply for jobs because the extra unemployment benefits are so good?”
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI: “Well, first, let me say that we have looked at the data — and Secretary Yellen referred to this on Friday, or talked about this on Friday: We don’t see much evidence that the extra unemployment insurance is a major driver in people not rejoining the workforce.” (White House Press Briefing 5/10/2021)

  • PSAKI: “[W]e’ve seen the explanations that have been put out there by some leaders in states and some leaders even in Washington — and they have blamed $300 checks that are going out to Americans as the reason for an unemployment report that was lower than expectations. We’re not actually seeing that in the data as the root cause.” (White House Press Briefing, 5/11/2021)

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): “So, I think that this notion that people are not going to work because they would rather stay at home, they will make more money if they are drawing unemployment, I have been hearing that all my life. It has never been true, it’s not true now, and I don’t think it ever will be true.” (CNN’s “State of the Union,” 5/09/2021)


Yet All Across The Country, Businesses Are Struggling To Find Workers, With Many Employers Pointing To ‘Expanded Payments As A Key Driver Of The Labor Shortage’: ‘I Feel Like I Am Competing Against The Enhanced Unemployment Benefits And The Stimulus … It Is Making It Hard To Find Workers When They Can Make So Much Not Working’

DELAWARE: “Some employers in the Rehoboth area, which The New York Times visited last year to take the temperature of the labor market, think workers will come flooding back in September, when the more generous unemployment benefits expire. At least 10 people in and around Rehoboth, managers and workers alike, cited expanded payments as a key driver of the labor shortage, though only two of them personally knew someone who was declining to work to claim the benefit.” (“I.P.A. Signing Bonuses and Free Subs: Luring Labor as a Beach Economy Booms,” The New York Times, 5/11/2021)

  • “In Delaware, Wawa gas stations sport huge periwinkle blue signs advertising $500 signing bonuses, plus free ‘shorti’ hoagies each shift for new associates. A local country club is offering referral bonuses and opening up jobs to members’ children and grandchildren. A regional home builder has instituted a cap on the number of houses it can sell each month as everything — open lots, available materials, building crews — comes up short.” (“I.P.A. Signing Bonuses and Free Subs: Luring Labor as a Beach Economy Booms,” The New York Times, 5/11/2021)
  • “By the end of April, the Peninsula Golf and Country Club usually hired about 100 seasonal workers over the course of three job fairs. This year, after five fairs, it managed to hire only 40. Missing are the 20 or so students from abroad who would usually work on seasonal visas, but the club also cannot get people to come in for interviews…. ‘There’s no labor out there,’ said Greg Tobias, the principal for Ocean Atlantic Companies, a business group that includes real estate development and the country club. ‘It’s not even a question of, are you paying enough money?’ The sprawling clubhouse restaurant was empty on a sunny afternoon this month as golfers milled about. The company does not have the staff to open it for lunch. It might have to keep the snack shack at the club’s wave pool closed this summer if it cannot find more workers.” (“I.P.A. Signing Bonuses and Free Subs: Luring Labor as a Beach Economy Booms,” The New York Times, 5/11/2021)

NEW YORK: “Need a job? Try heading to your nearest restaurant. It seems they’re all looking for help these days. ‘We use to have people clawing for jobs, and scratching for extra hours,’ said Tom Taylor, owner of Sammy Malone’s bar and restaurant in Baldwinsville. ‘Not anymore.’ Restaurants across Central New York have been posting help wanted messages to social media for weeks. They need servers, cooks, bartenders and other staff.” (“Help Wanted: Why CNY Restaurants Are Struggling To Find Staff,” Syracuse.Com, 3/24/2021)

  • “[T]he labor shortage now comes as restaurants are trying to rebound from a year in which they had to shut down for long periods and had to navigate confusing and ever-changing rules and restrictions when they were open…. It comes down to two major factors, [David] Hoyne [owner of Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub & Restaurant in Syracuse] and other restaurant owners say. ‘First, there is a bit of nervousness for some people to come work in restaurants,’ Hoyne said, citing state rules that give the impression that dining out (and serving) could be unsafe. But he points out that restaurant workers now qualify in New York for vaccines, and all his current staff have them. But the second, and perhaps stronger, factor is unemployment benefits, restaurant owners say. The recently passed American Rescue Plan provides an additional $300 in weekly unemployment benefits, on top of regular state unemployment. ‘The government is making it easy for people to stay home and get paid,’ Sammy Malone’s Tom Taylor said. ‘You can’t really blame them much. But it means we have hours to fill and no one who wants to work.’ … The shortage is now affecting places like Kitty Hoynes, which has rarely had trouble hiring or keeping staff in its 20-plus years. ‘We do pay a good wage, and we offer a 401k plan,’ David Hoyne said. ‘So we try to make it a good and safe place for people to work. But this is a difficult time.’” (“Help Wanted: Why CNY Restaurants Are Struggling To Find Staff,” Syracuse.Com, 3/24/2021)
  • “Mark Bullis, owner of the three Bull ‘n Bear Roadhouse restaurants in Central New York, plus a catering company and the recently opened YO!BURRITO takeout place in Manlius, has about 25 jobs to fill. He said the current unemployment benefits packages primarily affect jobs that pay roughly $40,000 or less per year. ‘It’s insanely serious,’ Bullis said of the labor shortage. ‘The unemployment benefits mean that anybody who can do arithmetic can figure out it might pay them not to work. We put out job offers, and no one calls back.’” (“Help Wanted: Why CNY Restaurants Are Struggling To Find Staff,” Syracuse.Com, 3/24/2021)

NEW YORK: “Ebenezer Ale House has to close two days per week. Prescott’s Provisions on the Erie Canal in Tonawanda no longer serves lunch. Coco Bar & Bistro is paying its small staff overtime. After a difficult year, restaurants are finally expecting business to pick up in a big way, with eased restrictions, a vaccinated public and eager patrons. But a shortage of dishwashers and line cooks – vital to any restaurant – has left restaurants turning customers away at a time when those hard-hit businesses need them more than ever. It’s not just restaurants, either. Retailers are also fighting a losing battle to hire qualified workers at a time when enhanced unemployment benefits make many low-paying or part-time jobs less appealing.” (“Help Wanted: Worker Shortage Hurts Restaurants, Retailers As Reopening Picks Up,” The Buffalo News, 5/06/2021)

CALIFORNIA: “The worker pinch is even inspiring social media memes. The chef Jeremy Fox recently advertised job openings at his three restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., on Instagram. The ad includes a photo of Mr. Fox in an empty restaurant, beneath the headline: ‘When you’re hiring cooks, but so is every restaurant.’ … Restaurateurs say many former employees are choosing not to re-enter the work force at a time when they can make nearly as much or more by collecting unemployment benefits. ‘You have some cases where it’s more profitable to not work than to work, and you can’t really fault people for wanting to hold on to that as long as possible,’ Mr. Fox said.” (“As Diners Return, Restaurants Face a New Hurdle: Finding Workers,” The New York Times, 4/08/2021)

GEORGIA: “In Carrollton, Georgia, Barnes Van Lines owner Chris New told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has turned down $250,000 in business because he can’t find enough laborers and drivers. ‘There are plenty of people without jobs, but unemployment benefits give them too much incentive not to work,’ he told the newspaper. ‘We advertise and nobody comes in looking for a job. A lot of people are taking advantage of the system. It’s really killing us.’” (“Biden’s American Rescue Plan Unemployment-Benefit Extension Making It Difficult To Find Workers, Employers Say,” Fox News, 5/12/2021)

NEVADA: “[E]mployers big and small across the state are struggling to find workers…. Jay Kenny, owner of DoughBoys Donuts in Reno, feels the competition, too. He has been advertising job openings on sites such as Craigslist and Indeed as well as in bilingual newspapers but has received barely a nibble. His entry-level positions, such as cashier, pay $12 to $14 per hour, while bakers could earn $18 to $22 an hour. Still, it hasn’t been enough to lure job seekers...” (“As Customer Demand Increases, Businesses Struggle To Find Enough Workers,” The Nevada Independent, 5/04/2021)

  • Money isn’t always enough, though. Josh Molina, chief executive officer of Makers & Finders restaurants in Las Vegas, said he increased wages for certain jobs but even that hasn’t significantly helped the recruitment process. Many applicants simply disappear. In his six years owning restaurants, he said this is the toughest labor market he has encountered. … These days the restaurateur is shuffling schedules to make sure his two locations are staffed, worried about burnout among his employees and having one-on-one conversations with baristas, line cooks, dishwashers and others to alleviate stress when possible and assure them it will get better. Molina described the situation as a ‘buyer’s market’ for prospective workers, who have multiple jobs to choose from or the option to continue unemployment benefits, which he considers a key aspect of the problem.” (“As Customer Demand Increases, Businesses Struggle To Find Enough Workers,” The Nevada Independent, 5/04/2021)
  • “Hugh Anderson, chairman of the government affairs committee for the Vegas Chamber, said the pandemic likely caused many people to rethink their life priorities. Perhaps a wage earner in a family has decided not to go back to work and, instead, stay home to care for children. Others may be contemplating or embarking on a career change. But, like many business owners, Anderson suspects the extended unemployment benefits are causing hesitation among prospective workers, especially those potentially earning more money than they did at their prior jobs. If the federal government had implemented a gradual phase-out of the benefits — such as a percentage decrease in payments each month — he said that may have created more urgency to begin a job search. He fears the federal assistance may be lulling people into a false sense of security that could put them in a bind when the benefits expire and a wave of job seekers hit the market at the same time.” (“As Customer Demand Increases, Businesses Struggle To Find Enough Workers,” The Nevada Independent, 5/04/2021)

COLORADO: “The service industry continues to struggle to bring workers back through the door. While many blame continuing unemployment benefits, others say a shift in the workforce dynamic since COVID-19 has caused new challenges. Patrick Dizon is the general manager at Comida Restaurant in The Stanley Marketplace, but this year, he has taken on many new roles. ‘I’m a bartender, server, busser, line cook, head pastry chef, dishwasher,’ Dizon said. ‘All of it.’ All of those roles remain unfilled as the restaurant seeks new employees. The company is posting numerous positions on social media and hiring websites in an attempt to hire more staff. The restaurant needs to fill as much as 70% of its roles vacated in its kitchen during COVID-19. … ‘Unemployment right now is definitely a game changer,’ Dizon said. ‘While some people are looking for work, some people are not.’” (“Manager Says He Retained 30% Of His Kitchen Staff As Restaurants Struggle To Hire Workers Back,” The Denver Channel, 5/11/2021)

WEST VIRGINIA: “A few weeks ago, Jason Webb decided to do something different from a traditional ‘Help Wanted’ sign to attract job seekers to work at G.D. Ritzy’s, a 1950s-themed restaurant on Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington. ‘I put on my sign in all capital letters, ‘MISSING — JOB SEEKERS. IF FOUND, BRING INSIDE,’ Webb said. ‘My manager George West came up with it.’ ‘I feel like I am competing against the enhanced unemployment benefits and the stimulus,’ he said. ‘It is making it hard to find workers when they can make so much not working.’ While Webb’s unique sign and post garnered him a few applications, he says finding job seekers is still an issue and he still has positions available. ‘I normally have at least 10 to 15 workers, and now we are down to seven,’ he said. ‘It’s making things really hard on us.’” (“Why are businesses having trouble finding employees?,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 5/09/2021)

  • “Paul Davis, general manager and chief executive officer of the Tri-State Transit Authority, says job openings for bus drivers and mechanics are not getting any applicants. ‘We have tried everything we can think of to get people to apply but have had little success,’ he said. ‘Bus drivers here basically make around $25 an hour, and we still can’t get qualified people to apply.’ Davis says he believes that increased unemployment benefits and federal stimulus payments are keeping people from going back to work. ‘If they are getting more money by not working, then there is no incentive for them to return to work,’ he said.” (“Why are businesses having trouble finding employees?,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 5/09/2021)
  • “Staffing agency Manpower in Huntington also cited higher unemployment benefits as one of the main factors. ‘The additional $300 in federal unemployment benefits is absolutely a factor,’ said Bobbie Ward, a branch manager. ‘We have more jobs right now than we do people looking for work. When you can make more in unemployment than you can working, then it’s going to keep a lot of people from seeking work.’” (“Why are businesses having trouble finding employees?,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 5/09/2021)

MONTANA: “Restaurants around the country are struggling to find workers to keep their doors open and it’s an issue that’s starting to become a major problem in Northwest Montana…. ‘We were consistently needing to bring people from other locations to help operate day to day which was depleting our staff in those other locations,’ Montana Coffee Traders Café Coordinator Jessie Farns told MTN News. Farns said the longtime Flathead Valley business has temporarily closed their downtown Kalispell location due to staffing shortages…. Meanwhile, KOBE Steak and Sushi in Kalispell is experiencing delays in service due to the inability to hire new employees. ‘Longer wait times, longer stay times, we’ve just been asking people to have a little bit more patience and kindness toward the staff that are here to work,’ KOBE Assistant manager Rhonda Doan tells MTN News. Doan said her restaurant is currently down six employees. ‘We don’t have any applicants coming in, nobody’s showing up to their scheduled interviews when they do apply, there’s no workforce to even try to select from and it’s just very frustrating because there’s work.’” (“Flathead Labor Shortage Leads To Restaurant Delays, Closures,” MTN News, 4/14/2021)

MARYLAND: “Before the summer season even arrives, there is already an acute labor shortage brewing in the [Ocean City’s] hospitality industry … ‘Help Wanted’ signs dot the resort’s landscape, which is not unusual in April in advance of the summer season, but questions remain if the business community will ever fill all the needed positions and the signs will ever come down. While many businesses are trying to fill out their seasonal workforce, more than a few are barely getting by with what they have now in the shoulder season…. Perhaps the largest contributor to the labor shortage, however, is the many pandemic relief programs available to what would normally be the seasonal workforce. Enhanced unemployment benefits through September provide more weekly income than many employees would earn by returning to work. Recent federal stimulus checks have also fattened bank accounts and contributed to the issue.” (“Tourism Groups Request Maryland’s Help With Labor Shortage,” The [Ocean City] Dispatch, 4/13/2021)

  • “Because of COVID, the weekly benefits are enhanced by federal pandemic dollars ($300/week in most cases) and certain criteria such as job search requirements have been waived while a state of emergency remains in place. To that end, the Ocean City [Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (HMRA)], along with the Restaurant Association of Maryland, the Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association, the Maryland Tourism Commission and the Maryland Breweries Association this week fired off a letter to Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson seeking relief. ‘Practically every business has a help wanted sign and never have there been more available jobs in our state,’ the letter reads. ‘Unfortunately, many Marylanders are making a cognitive choice to accept unemployment assistance rather than returning to their job or finding a new one.’(“Tourism Groups Request Maryland’s Help With Labor Shortage,” The [Ocean City] Dispatch, 4/13/2021)

WISCONSIN: “Chef Dan Jacobs’s restaurants have long been fixtures on best-of-Milwaukee lists. … He’s offering $40,000-a-year salaries and $20 an hour for part-timers. He’s begging on Craigslist. He’s even scouting people who’ve served time in prison. No luck. ‘It’s a coin flip,’ Jacobs says of the chances that EsterEv and his other two restaurants will survive. … Extended unemployment benefits have allowed some restaurant workers to remain on the sidelines. In Milwaukee, Jacobs says candidates sometimes apply because they have to show they’re actively seeking work to continue collecting unemployment but then don’t return his phone calls.” (“Waiters Reject Signing Bonuses, Hobbling an $860 Billion Industry,” Bloomberg Businessweek, 5/12/2021)

FLORIDA: “All Day, a downtown [Miami] coffee shop and restaurant, started the year on a high note. January was its busiest month since the start of the pandemic. ‘It was like turning on a light switch,’ said Camila Ramos, an owner. Business was so good, it pushed All Day’s staff to a near-breaking point, Ms. Ramos said. When she had trouble hiring reinforcements to help with the increased traffic, she was forced to make a counterintuitive decision: She closed All Day for the month of February. ‘I couldn’t find people to hire,’ she said last weekend outside her cafe, which reopened on March 1. ‘I just wanted some time to reset the operations.’ Ms. Ramos discovered early what the owners of full-service restaurants nationwide are now experiencing: a persistent worker shortage in the face of an upswing in business … Yet even with higher salaries, Ms. Ramos, 32, has begun looking for potential job applicants among her customers. One new hire is a former real estate agent. Another was a day trader. ‘I normally require three years’ experience, minimum, like zero exceptions,’ Ms. Ramos said. ‘Now I’m like, “You’ve been here a couple times? I’ll train you.”‘” (“As Diners Return, Restaurants Face a New Hurdle: Finding Workers,” The New York Times, 4/08/2021)

PENNSYLVANIA: “Home improvement has boomed during the pandemic, but Nolan Painting can’t keep up with all the demand. Last month, the Havertown-based residential painting company turned away 150 potential customers, president Kevin Nolan said. The reason? His business can’t hire enough workers, despite airing ads offering $15 an hour with benefits. His staff of about 108 is still 20 workers short of what he needs. ‘We’re desperately trying to get people,’ Nolan said. ‘It’s at the point where there are no applicants, which is unbelievable.’ From restaurants to cloud computing companies, some small businesses have run into what seems to be a counterintuitive problem. They can’t find workers, even though unemployment remains at high levels. That has left some businesses unable to expand capacity as coronavirus restrictions recede and the economy recovers.” (“Unemployment Remains High, Yet Many Businesses Say They Can’t Find Enough Workers,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/05/2021)

IOWA: “Businesses big and small have been working hard to find employees to keep their operations going. The pandemic is causing people to not want to return to work for a variety of reasons. ‘Now Hiring’ signs can be found on almost every block. Employers in the Cedar Valley are short-staffed in what is now a national issue. ‘We’re going to high school career fairs, college career fairs, and just community career fairs,’ VGM Talent Acquisition Vice President Amy Streeter said. Businesses and companies are doing everything they can to find employees.” (“Worker Shortage Leads To Businesses Struggling To Hire Employees,” KWWL, 5/05/2021)

  • “Waterfalls Car Wash in Waterloo can only offer exterior washes on vehicles at the moment. There is not enough employees to make the business a ‘full service’ car wash. ‘Sometimes people just don’t show up for interviews, or they do the interview and I can’t get ahold of them again so it’s kind of a crazy time to be trying to hire people,’ Williams said.” (“Worker Shortage Leads To Businesses Struggling To Hire Employees,” KWWL, 5/05/2021)

MICHIGAN: “The patio at the West End Tavern overlooks Grand Traverse Bay, which should make it a popular destination as weather warms ahead of the summer tourist season in northern Michigan. But customers so far this year can’t count on getting seated at the outdoor tables with a water view. ‘I can’t open it,’ Dorin Constantin, the restaurant’s general manager, said of the patio until he can staff it. The restaurant needs up to 30 more workers to meet customer demand during the summer. But with the start of the busy tourist season just weeks away, West End Tavern finds itself among restaurants statewide struggling due to the lack of people seeking food service jobs. … Now, with a new job posting that’s flagged his establishment’s ‘urgent need,’ Constantin hopes more prospective workers emerge. Most recently, about one in 10 would even return a phone call. ” (“Michigan Restaurants Ask: How Can We Find Enough Workers?,” Bridge Michigan, 5/06/2021)

  • “Restaurant staffing is an industry-wide problem across the U.S. … The situation is acute in Michigan, even as indoor dining rooms still operate at just 50-percent capacity under state pandemic orders. Staffing shortages are prompting early closures at fast food restaurants in metro Detroit and limited days of service elsewhere…. Restaurants’ hiring struggles — following a year of COVID-related mandatory shutdowns and capacity limits, which in turn prompted widespread staff layoffs — is a bitter blow to owners. Many had believed if they survived the worst of COVID they could hold onto their businesses. ‘If you stayed open after 2020, you won,’ said Dan West, president and CEO of the Livonia Area Chamber of Commerce.  ‘That’s what we were telling people.’ But even as vaccinations increase and Michigan’s brutal virus surge slows as summer approaches, restaurants can’t find people to serve a public eager to dine out, said Justin Winslow, CEO of the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association. ‘Staffing to meet that (demand),’ Winslow said, ‘is going to be a nearly impossible challenge for some.’” (“Michigan Restaurants Ask: How Can We Find Enough Workers?,” Bridge Michigan, 5/06/2021)
  • “[S]ome business leaders point to more generous unemployment benefits extended to workers during the pandemic as the reason for the worker shortage, which comes as restaurant industry employment in Michigan was down 17.2 percent in March from a year earlier. ‘Owners are telling me that (potential workers) are paid more to stay home,’ said West of the Livonia Chamber of Commerce. ‘Some are trying to pay $18 per hour to get people to come back, but they’re still saying no.’” (“Michigan Restaurants Ask: How Can We Find Enough Workers?,” Bridge Michigan, 5/06/2021)
  • “Josie Knapp, co-owner of Assaggi Bistro in Ferndale, north of Detroit, said she’s turned to personal networking to help her find prospective workers. She would still like to have three or four new hires, including one who will work in the kitchen. ‘But when you go anywhere, there isn’t a place that doesn’t have a sign on their window, looking for help,’ Knapp said. ‘That has to tell you something.’” (“Michigan Restaurants Ask: How Can We Find Enough Workers?,” Bridge Michigan, 5/06/2021)

NEW JERSEY: “Mike Jurusz is worried about the summer. As owner and executive chef at Chef Mike’s Atlantic Bar & Grill in South Seaside Park, he said he can’t find anyone to hire. He blames his staffing troubles on expanded unemployment benefits and stimulus payments. ‘It’s impossible to get help right now,’ he said, adding that all the businesses in his neighborhood have ‘help wanted’ signs. Jurusz has about 15 employees who work for the restaurant throughout the year, but staff is ramped up to about 60 for the summer season, he said. ‘We need 40 or more employees and I’m getting scared,’ Jurusz said, noting he does 90% of his business in the summer. … Still, Jurusz remains convinced that expanded unemployment benefits are the culprit, with prospective employees questioning why they should work if ‘I can stay home and collect?’ ‘The solution is to stop giving people money. If they keep giving these extra benefits, there is no reason for people to get out and work,’ he said.” (“‘It’s Impossible To Get Help.’ Are Workers Staying Home Because Of Unemployment Benefits?,” NJ.com, 5/07/2021)

NEW JERSEY: “Business after business had the same story: They can’t find enough employees. While some workers are staying home because of COVID fears or child care issues, others just aren’t ready to give up their unemployment benefits for a job, they said…. And given expanded unemployment benefits, some workers are trying to double-dip, asking to be paid cash under the table so they can continue to collect benefits, employers said. Anthony Reis, owner of a Piscataway-based catering company called The Food Architects, said he needs to hire another 25 to 40 people ranging from managers, chefs, drivers and more. It hasn’t been easy, he said. ‘I had one potential employee come for an interview as a pizza maker asking for $25 per hour and stated that he was collecting unemployment for over eight months and is working for cash now and ‘I am not giving (unemployment benefits) up’ Reis said. ‘The interview ended before it even started.’” Bob Wagner, managing partner and chief operating officer of Braddock’s Tavern and Ott’s Restaurants, called the unemployment system broken. ‘There are people who need the assistance with the extra $300 a week,’ he said. ‘But people are walking in and say ‘you have to pay me cash’ because they are collecting.’ Richard Goldstein, owner of landscaping company Green Meadows in Oakland, said he, too, has had potential employees come in and ask for cash payments. ‘(They) have started their process by letting us know they want to work, but off the books so they can continue to collect unemployment,’ Goldstein said.” (“‘You Have To Pay Me Cash.’ Some Workers Asking To Be Paid Under The Table To Keep Unemployment Benefits, N.J. Employers Say,” NJ.com, 5/12/2021)



Related Issues: Small Business, Senate Democrats, Jobs, Economy