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There’s a shortage of entry-level workers due to unemployment benefits



MONROE, La. – Some local business owners say it’s hard to hire workers these days. One owner says it’s because many people are deciding to stay home and collect unemployment.

The $600 a week for unemployment benefits is more money than most restaurants are paying their employees. Ron Long, the owner at Braiz’n Bar and Grill, says he had to increase salaries to get workers.

The hustle and bustle in Long’s restaurant is back. but he now finds himself with an unexpected problem–he is having trouble finding people willing to work. Long says at the beginning of the pandemic he had employees volunteering to get laid off so they can collect $600 a week of unemployment benefits.

“Now we are paying about $1 an hour more per person than what we were a year ago for somebody that would just come to the door. Otherwise, I can’t compete with the government,” Long said

One worker stayed loyal to Long during the pandemic, although his hours were cut. He says his moral ethics kept him motivated.

“It was my work ethic instilled in me from my mom and dad. I knew it was gonna come to an end one day and but it was all like, oh, I’m getting this amount of money every week, but it was gonna come to an end, eventually. So I just kept on and kept on,” said Robert Quick, Manager at Braiz’n Bar and Grill.

Quick has been with the restaurant for three years. He was afraid he was going to lose his job during the pandemic, but long says once the government implemented the $600 payment weekly, he was in desperate need of help.

“So people were walking out the door citing COVID as the reason. So you know were advertising for help. We’re not getting a lot of takers, people that are coming in don’t work out very long. They don’t quite fit in they have difficulties with the job for whatever reason or they had no experience in a job and saying I just want to work,” said Long.

Currently Long says he has six openings. He hopes to fill them as soon as he finds workers.