Restaurants and businesses facing employee shortage

NOW: Restaurants and businesses facing employee shortage

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Apply today, hiring now, we need help; signs are plastered as a desperate call to get workers into places of business throughout Michiana have begun to increase more and more as the coronavirus pandemic continues. But why?

“We have a still rather generous unemployment package in the Biden rescue plan. I don’t exclude that you know in part of the country and some sectors like the hospitality sector, we actually see an impact on this that people say yeah, I’m just going to stay this summer with my unemployment I insurance, with my increased unemployment insurance and then you know after the summer look for jobs,” Notre Dame Economics Professor Ruediger Bachmann said.

“There are about almost 11 thousand people in South Bend unemployed, and about 37 hundred people in Mishawaka that are unemployed so right away businesses are thinking wait a second there are a lot of people on the sidelines collecting unemployment benefits that we’d love to get back into the workforce,” South Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea said.

However, unemployment isn’t the only factor playing into the staff shortage.

“Just it’s pandemic and people are wondering whether it’s safe to go back, some still have kids who are at home, not in school,” Rea said. “I also think though that many of the industries that were hit hardest have people who decided to go in different careers.”

To try and curb the shortage, businesses are trying to find different ways to bring people in.

“Employers are trying to figure out creative ways to get people back, so across the country some are offering a different level of benefits from before, some are offering sign on bonuses. Anything to get people through the door,” Rea said.

But, what if a business can’t provide an incentive for future employees?

“I don’t think all that much. I mean what they can try to do is as you said is sort of increase wages, pay better benefits but that’s is limited given that will hurt them bottom line,” Bachmann said.

“That’s where you see the hour limitations, you see they just can operate like they used to. They’re going to close earlier at night, they’re going to open later in the morning, they’re going to be opened less days. Obviously, consumers may see some price impacts as well too,” Rea said.

Despite all this, one Bachmann says a nationwide labor shortage is unlikely.

“We shouldn’t, just because we see all of these wanted signs in our favorite bagel shop, to say it this way, that is even of itself not a sign of a labor shortage,” Bachmann said.

As struggles and hurdles businesses have had continues, fingers are crossed that the future for these places won’t go dark in the next few months.

“I’d like to hope that the next month will be better, so coronavirus numbers are better, fewer cases, people are feeling more comfortable coming out, mask mandates are lifting, capacity limits are going away, and such so I think all of those will signal to some that, that return to normalcy means that they can return to some normalcy even in the workforce,” Rea said.

If you are currently seeking for a job, many places in Michiana are hiring. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled around town and on social media.

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