BUSINESS + ECONOMY
Are unemployment benefits making it hard to find new hires?
May 7, 2021, 11:22 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
SALT LAKE CITY — Some local business owners say they’re having a hard time finding new hires and believe enhanced unemployment benefits may be partially to blame.
Where are the new hires?
Those on unemployment are now eligible for an extra $300 per week until early September. That comes after the American Rescue Plan Act, passed by Congress in March.
Downtown bar and bistro owner Kirk Bengtzen says it’s flat out hard to compete with what unemployment is offering now.
“Holy cow… I mean, trying to get people to even show up to an interview is beyond ridiculous,” said Bengtzen, owner of Twist Bar Bistro.
Turning down offers to remain unemployed
Financial experts say it’s a calculated decision by many on unemployment to stay there. Simply put, they’re receiving more than many jobs can offer.
“Analysis shows that if someone is making $15 an hour or less, it’s more financially beneficial for them to stay on unemployment,” said Robert Spendlove, senior vice president and public-policy officer for Zions Bank.
Bengtzen says he’s seeing people make these decisions daily.
“Even people that do show up, they’re like, ‘Well, let me compare the money I’m making on unemployment with the money I would make with you,'” he said.
Many others aren’t even showing up. Bengtzen said he scheduled around two dozen interviews recently, although only four actually showed up.
Spendlove agreed that this is becoming a more widespread issue.
“It’s really constraining the ability of the labor market to expand and for employers to find people,” he said.
Officials with the Unemployment Insurance Division said they will investigate individuals turning down work to keep receiving weekly benefits. Businesses can submit a request for an investigation on the division’s website.
“Refusing work will disqualify individuals from unemployment insurance, and so it’s really important that people who are receiving it and employers who are offering jobs are aware of that and report any instances of it,” says Kevin Burt with the Department of Workforce Services.
We want to hear from you.
Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.
Today’s Top Stories
- Pride-wrapped UTA bus pulled from downtown Pride Parade
- Two people killed in road rage crash near Eagle Mountain are identified
- Suspect killed, Ogden police officer stable after officer-involved shooting
- Utah will loan first-time homebuyers $20,000 for new homes
- Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Weber, Box Elder, Davis, Tooele counties
- Kouri Richins family satisfied with partial gag order issued in case, says spokesman
- Boats returning to the Great Salt Lake Marina
- Man urges pet owners to be cautious around rivers after Oliver the dog was swept away
- Text messages reveal Utah lawmakers pressured UTA to pull Pride-wrapped bus out of parade
- Boppy Newborn Lounger pillow blamed in more infant deaths