DE PERE (NBC 26) — It’s no secret the restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic.
However, as people’s confidence are beginning to ramp up and more are dining out many businesses still say they’re struggling to hire.
For the Abbey in De Pere, they say it’s hard to find workers as they're competing against stimulus money and unemployment checks.
“I don’t know how many interviews I’ve set up where the person just doesn’t show up. Then they ghost you,” said Kerry Counard, the Abbey owner.
Counard says after investing several hundreds of dollars on job advertisement and still not having any luck, he finally decided to put up the following sign.
"So I guess it was my way saying 'hey this is silly.' I don't understand why people don't want to go to work. The unemployment rate is where its at. There are plenty of jobs and there's still plenty of people who say they're looking for jobs but they are obviously not looking hard enough,” Counard said.
A University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor gives us a closer look at the labor market.
"We are seeing increase in signs of tightness along other dimensions, job opening rates have gone up, vacancy rates have gone up. The new online job listing are now higher than they were pre-pandemic,” said Noah Williams.
But even with more job openings, Williams said he’s been seeing more and more long-term unemployment with people claiming benefits for a longer period of time.
“The overall level of benefits isn’t as high as it was in the CARES act, an extra $300 vs $600 but still for a number of people that does mean that they could be earning as much on unemployment as they did while they were working,” Williams said.
Yet with the lack of staff, the owner says it can become overwhelming for him and his employees who are overworked to keep up with the demand.
“There’s people that if you continuously give them a handout they will continuously come back for a handout. I think that’s part of it. If the handouts stop and people are forced to go back to work that will have a lot to do with it,“ Counard said.
Even with their location of being right across the street from St. Norbert College, Counard said they don't get much traffic from students applicants.
In the meantime, the owner said all he can do right now is remain optimistic that someone with good work ethic will read their sign and apply.
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