As federal jobs growth showed signs of a slowdown in July, some small-business owners fear that the continued exchange of COVID -19 assistance from the private government, including renewed eviction moratorium and enhanced unemployment benefits, will only further exacerbate the hiring challenges created by the recent labor shortage.
According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget's COVID-based tool, the federal government has spent at least $4.5 trillion in COVID-related funding as of August 2, including $633 billion in unemployment benefits and $46.6 billion in rental assistance.
Guy Berkebile says eviction moratorium is going to prolong the current status quo of people not wanting to come in to work, Guy Chemical President Guy Green told FOX Business on Wednesday.
Due to staffing shortages, the Somerset, Pennsylvania-based chemical plant says it is unable to operate its 18 production lines at full capacity, causing delays with its shipments to customers.
We used to put an ad out for production workers and would get dozens of responses. Now, we're lucky if we get four, five, six responses, Berkebile explained. Out of these applicants, some will respond. In addition to personnel shortages, Terri Mitchell's administrations manager Guy Chemical says there has been a wave of high absenteeism among the newest hires in its workforce of 180 employees.
Between 10 to 15 employees can call off a shift, Mitchell said. The turnover is unbelievable. They can last for two to five days and then go back in and suddenly stop coming in.
Loycent Gordon, who owns Neir's Tavern in Woodhaven, Queens, told FOX Business that his bar was unable to fill an open manager role for the last three months. To date, just under 10 candidates have applied for the role, which Gordon attributes to the continuation of enhanced unemployment benefits.
The money that is being paid to people for unemployment is competing with what we're paying. So now we have to find ways to raise prices and cut other costs to match and exceed what the government is paying, Gordon explained. When you don't have enough people to work, you can’t expand your hours and you can’t serve as many customers as you would like to serve to pay all the business expenses that come with operating a business.
McGraff's American Grill in Loveland, Colorado, told FOX Business that the staffing shortage has gotten so bad at his restaurant that employees have been forced to take double and triple their normal duties.
They'll come together and do the hard thing for a while, but people are people, Miller said. I know some of you burning out.
While Miller has offered incentives such as bonuses and raises to keep his employees motivated, he warns that the government needs to take a step back and let people go back to work.
If you just dole out cash to people incentivizing them not to work, you're not going to replace the coffers with FICA and tax money and it's just going to spiral. That's completely unsustainable, Miller said. Additionally, Gordon says that the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to get their act together on messaging, arguing the inconsistent and rapidly changing rules during the pandemic on everything from COVID -19 restrictions to vaccination requirements has made it difficult to maintain a sustainable business model and an aggressive hiring approach.
We can't operate in silos. We have to do this together, she emphasized. We have learned that things get worse if we don't.