Labor Day celebrated as employers say they need more workers

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – From economists to hiring experts to the small business owner, many hoped that Labor Day 2021 would see the nation well on the way or fully recovered from the pandemic.

And while things have improved for businesses, especially over the summer, lack of employees and now the Delta variant continue to cause many to ask what may be coming next.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, we have seen over the summer that we have bounced back,” said David Cathey a hiring expect and consultant. “The recovery is just not where it could be based on supply and demand of talent.”

In other words, there are still more jobs than workers especially in the tourist and service industries.

Those higher unemployment insurance benefits funded by the federal government ended over the weekend. And a number of states, including Georgia, ended the benefits in late June, hoping to force some people back into the labor force. While officials from the Georgia Department of Labor say it worked and that up to 80,000 jobs were filled in July, the state still has tens of thousands of job openings.

“I think it didn’t have as much of an impact as some of the state legislators and governors would have anticipated, i.e. stopping the federal unemployment insurance early,” said Cathey.

Cathey says many businesses still need more help.

“It’s a really challenging time because some of them are just now turning a profit, whether these are franchisee owners of some type of bar or restaurant or a small Mom and Pop,” he said.

Cathey says a lot of the power has been handed back to employees. Some people have had time to learn new skills in an effort to change careers and other people are now looking for the highest wages. Some business owners have to increase compensation for hourly workers.

“It is incredibly challenging for those employers” said Cathey. “They have increased wages so they’re cutting into their profit margin to try and keep their doors open.”

He also said higher wages are not enticing everyone.

“There is a crowd that just doesn’t want to go back to work because there are a lot of opportunities for them to go back to work, ” said Cathey.

Cathey says while some people may be trying to change careers, he does expect that with the lowered unemployment payments that we will see more people taking jobs this fall.

“Let’s see how this Delta variant shakes out,” said Cathey. “So I think as we near November and December that we’ll see a lot of this normalized. But make no mistake about it, it’s still going to be rocky for the next couple of months.”

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