The pandemic took a toll on every business over the past year with millions of people losing their job and receiving expanded unemployment benefits. Now as more businesses reopen and restrictions are lifted, the struggle to find workers continues.
Last month, the state made it a requirement for people receiving benefits to be actively trying to find work.
“People are coming in. They’re sending in their resume. They’re scheduling interviews. They’re even getting hired, and then they don’t show up,” said Justin Horvath, president and CEO of Shiawassee Economic Development.
Labor shortages and employers struggling to hire is a common theme in mid-Michigan. Even as many companies offer more than ever to work.
“Businesses that maybe before we’re paying 10 eleven $12 an hour are up to 13, 14, 15 an hour, so they are trying to respond to this,” Horvath said.
While the Unemployment Insurance Agency has made it a requirement for people receiving benefits to be actively trying to find work, Horvath said it hasn’t translated into more people working.
He said that’s an issue for businesses, on top of competing against an extra $300 in UIA benefits.
“Stimulus money that creates a significant revenue source for workers,” Horvath said.
There is also a childcare issue.
“If you’re at home, you don’t have to pay for childcare, so in reality, what we’re finding the true cost for people to stay home is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 2020. One, $22 an hour,” Horvath said.
Horvath believes eventually things will get better for everyone in a post COVID-19 world. He said the extra UIA money will end and childcare issues will be addressed.
He does believe the higher wages are not going anywhere.
“The labor market will return somewhat to normal. I do believe the stimulus will, end I believe a lot of people will get back to work. We will have a higher base. Of wages here,” Horvath said.