ERIE (Erie News Now) – Federal unemployment benefits officially ended on Monday. Many local businesses strapped for staff are taking a sigh of relief, hoping there will now be incentive to get back to work.
Restaurants have certainly been one of the most effected industries by the nationwide staffing shortage.
“We’re dealing with more customers per day than we’re used to, and less staff to deal with them,” Fat Willie’s Wing House Owner, Andrew Corell, told Erie News Now.
With federal unemployment benefits officially ending, local restaurants are hopeful job applications will start rolling in. “Unemployment benefits from the start were way too much and lasted way too long,” Corell said.
Fat Willie’s Wing House is located in Edinboro and is one of the thousands of businesses struggling to find staff. The owner tells us potential employees are few and far between, so they basically have to take whatever help they can get.
“Now, it’s just hiring people as they apply to see if they’ll work out. If they don’t, they don’t. If they do, great, but we haven’t even had an application in probably six months,” he explained.
Other restaurants in our region have had the same problem. U Pick 6 had to temporarily close their doors at the John Russell Brewing location back in July to divert resources to other locations.
“We definitely had some applications come in this morning online, but it wasn’t that flood of applications some people thought were going to come in,” said owner, John Melody.
Even though staffing is down, business is still up.
“It’s hard to take on the demand that’s there. The demand for business is absolutely there. Unfortunately, because of the lack of staffing, we’re closed a couple of days a week,” Melody said.
But, these business owners are hopeful this is the light at the end of the tunnel. And hopefully soon, there will be people competing for these jobs.
“Hopefully this optimism out there about people coming into the workforce will be a very positive thing, and we look forward to getting things back to how they were pre-pandemic,” he said.