Businesses seek help as federal unemployment benefits end

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) - More than 7 million Americans soon will see less money in their unemployment checks. Monday, Sept. 6, marked the end of a federal unemployment program that provided jobless Americans with an extra $300 per week. Congress had approved the extra funds with the goal of helping people who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the unemployed will no longer see that extra $300 each week, many businesses report being understaffed and in need of help. Eyewitness News spoke with a fast-food restaurant in Hutchinson that is facing issues trying to get the help it needs.

The Arby’s restaurant in Hutchinson is among businesses that are dealing with staffing issues and with that, a loss of revenue.

“Well, being understaffed here, like we don’t really have the people that wee need to run a perfect shift. So, a lot of the times, we will either have to close down the lobby and just stick to drive thru only,” said Brandon, a shift manager at the Hutchinson Arby’s restaurant. “And it really hurts our business because a lot of our revenue actually comes from the lobby.”

Brandon said the staffing problems at the restaurant have been ongoing since March.

“We had a lot of people actually quit, so we would have like seven staff members and just two managers,” he said.

Brandon said the result is that staff members feel overworked, even getting called in on days off as they try to serve in many roles.

“There is a lot of people not showing up to work, a lot of people getting hired and quitting,” he said. “So, I mean, there isa lot of problems and a lot of issues that come with it.”

With unemployment benefits ending over the Labor Day weekend, the hope is that businesses like the Arby’s in Hutchinson will soon have new employees.

“It’s going to make things a lot easier,” Brandon said. “Have people, you know, where they are supposed to be showing up to work, not having to get called in, a lot less stress.”

Along with Arby’s, businesses like the Kwik Shop in Hutchinson are facing staffing issues. The convenience store used to be a 24/7 operation, but currently is open under restricted business hours.

The latest data from the Kansas Department of Labor shows the state’s unemployment rate at 3.8 percent.

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