A third of small businesses, including supermarkets and restaurants, are struggling to recruit new staff
As the U.S. clamors to relaunch the economy after devastating coronavirus shutdowns that have left millions of Americans unemployed, a third of small businesses are struggling to hire people who could earn more from unemployment.
Thirty-two percent of entrepreneurs surveyed the National Federation of Independent Business jobs in June Report indicated they have openings they cannot fill, a 9 percent increase over May.
Of the 51 percent who said they were “hiring or trying to hire,” a whopping 84 percent said they could find few qualified candidates, or none at all.
The hiring problems are because companies such as supermarkets, shops and restaurants are overrun with unemployment claims because some workers have found they can make more money from federal and state benefits than they previously earned.
Some owners and policy experts blame people’s alleged reluctance to look for work on the federal government’s coronavirus aid bill.
The CARES law gives unemployed workers $ 600 per week on top of government benefits, which average about $ 348 per week per labor department.
Companies such as the Morton Williams supermarket chain in New York City are struggling to hire workers during the pandemic while at the same time being overrun by unemployment claims
Thirty-two percent of entrepreneurs surveyed in the June Jobs Report of the National Federation of Independent Business said they have vacancies they cannot fill, nine percent higher than in May
In New York City, supermarkets struggled with a shortage of job seekers, while the demand for groceries skyrocketed during the pandemic.
According to co-owner Steven Sloan, about half of the approximately 1,200 employees on the payroll at Morton Williams have submitted unemployment claims in the past three months.
The company, which runs 16 stores in and around the city, saw claims increase tenfold to 400 at the peak of the pandemic in March and April compared to a year earlier, Sloan told the New York Post.
That number continued to rise to 600 through June, even as New York City launched the first two stages of reopening.
Steven Sloan, co-owner of Morton Williams (pictured), said that about half of the approximately 1,200 employees on his payroll have submitted unemployment claims in the past three months, with only three being made redundant
Morton Williams has only fired three people since March, but at the end of May, more than 160 former workers received weekly benefits from the state, Sloan said.
The company has contested some of the ex-employee’s unemployment claims, but Sloan has not specified how many.
He said two of his young cashiers recently filed a claim, even though they still work for Morton Williams, and when confronted with a manager, they explained that ‘they were told that if you file a file, you would can get money. ‘
In another case, Sloan said an employee quit because he didn’t feel safe during the pandemic and then received weekly checks from the state worth $ 341, despite the company’s protests.
The company also contested a cashier claim that was fired in April for not charging a customer for $ 200 in groceries and is now receiving $ 284 in benefits every week, Sloan said.
A masked Morton Williams employee is seen behind a plexiglass partition checking out a customer. Sloan said the supermarket chain increased unemployment rates tenfold to 400 at the peak of the pandemic in March and April compared to a year earlier
Sloan said it was rare in the past for the New York Department of Labor to pay a supermarket-disputed claim, and when it happened, a statement was issued.
But in light of the pandemic, the agency has cut transparency, he claimed.
“In three months, I haven’t received any explanation as to why former employees get paid if I dispute their claims,” said Sloan.
“So I don’t know what their reasoning is. I cannot contradict any of these cases if we don’t know what the rules are. ‘
The New York Department of Labor rebutted Sloan’s suggestion that the system of benefits of the service changed during the crisis.
“We have a rigorous application and screening process to remove fraudulent claims and ensure that only eligible New Yorkers receive benefits,” spokeswoman Deanna Cohen told the Post.
She confirmed that employees who quit or were fired would not be eligible for benefits, adding, “If someone misrepresents their situation to receive benefits, they are committing fraud.”
But Sloan isn’t the only one who has had issues with ex-workers claiming benefits.
Sal Bonavita, who owns two Key Food stores in the Bronx, told the Post that he is short of eight employees – half of his usual 16.
“We are seeing confusing claims from people who have not informed us that they are leaving,” he said.
“We have not fired anyone and yet we see many more unemployment claims.
‘The [CARES Act] benefits are an important reason why people do not currently apply for a job at our stores. ‘
Sal Bonavita, who owns two Key Food stores in the Bronx, said he is short of eight employees – half of his usual 16. “We didn’t fire anyone and yet we see a lot more unemployment claims,” he told New York Post
The CARES Act, signed into law in March, has significantly expanded unemployment benefits for unemployed Americans as a record number of people lost their jobs due to coronavirus-related shutdowns.
The bill offered people eligible for unemployment in their state an additional $ 600 per week for up to four months – which is about 156 percent higher than the current national average benefit check of $ 385 per week.
While the job market has risen significantly in recent weeks as states reopen – with 4.8 million jobs added in June – the number of people on benefits is still rising.
According to the latest figures from the Labor Department, the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits rose to 31.5 million in the week ending June 13 – nearly a million more than the previous week.
Some lawmakers and policy experts are now calling for the bonus of $ 600 to be terminated, as this could hamper the US economic recovery by giving people an incentive to remain unemployed.
The unemployment rate in the US fell sharply in May, but many companies are still struggling to find workers
Fifty-one percent of the entrepreneurs surveyed in the June jobs report of the National Federation of Independent Business said they were “hiring or trying to hire”, and 84 percent of them said they could find few qualified candidates, or at all no
William C Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business, raised the alarm in May about a shortage of job seekers, claiming that “generous unemployment benefits make it more difficult for some companies to recall workers and fill unfilled vacancies.”
Andy Puzder, the former director of CKE Restaurants, a senior fellow at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy and the author of Getting America Back to Work, echoed Dunkelberg’s argument in an opinion for The Washington Post last week.
“Virtually everyone in the business community will tell you that this $ 600-a-week bonus discourages work,” Puzder wrote.
He recognized the importance of offering the aid at the height of the pandemic, but added, “There is an important difference between helping people who are unable to work and providing benefits that are so generous that they encourage people to not taking up available jobs. ”
The $ 600 bonus will expire on July 31, but Democratic lawmakers are working to extend it for another six months.
Their argument is that putting money into the wallets of Americans is the best way to power the economy – and they say the number of people who earn more from unemployment than before is being blown out of proportion.