By David Fleet
Mike Clancy needed employees.
Clancy, owner of AC Tire North, 595 N. Ortonville Road received very few, if any, applications over the past months— a deadly pandemic with covid-19 now back at a high point, day care difficult to find and for some vaccination issues linger.
“We were looking to hire five positions all summer long,” said Clancy. “Then the end of August arrived and we started getting more people in for interviews.”
Clancy along with other business owners are hopeful a recent change in unemployment benefits will for some make a difference.
After a year and a half, federal unemployment benefits that have provided needed economic support to many Michigan residents out of work during the pandemic expired the week ending Sept.4.
The benefits’ expiration, which added an extra $300 to regular weekly benefits that went to all claimants, was planned. President Joe Biden’s administration did not seek to extend the benefits beyond this date.
Employers from across the state and locally aired their frustrations with the depleted and unpredictable worker supply, with many urging a change to federal unemployment payments.
“There’s no doubt it made a change,” he said. “Once the unemployment money ended they started coming back.”
Other area businesses are confident workers will return but, so far employees remain scarce.
“Things have kind of stayed the same, we’re seeing very few applicants as of today, Sept. 8,” said Kari Roehl, manager at Bueche’s Food World, 400 N Ortonville Road, Ortonville. “We haven’t seen any drive yet. We’re hopeful, very hopeful. Also, with kids getting back into school, we’re hoping for some of those types of part time workers, the moms and dads who can work at those times.”
Reka, assistant manager at Pet Supplies Plus, 260 N Ortonville Road, Ortonville said it’s a fun job, just no interest.
“We are not (receiving applications),” said Reka. “We have not had a lot of applications returned, and the ones that are interviewed either just never show up for work or they never start. There hasn’t been a ton of interest and it’s not just our store. We just put up a brand new hiring sign, highlighting the good parts of the job.”
Patty Plant, owner of Cranberries Cafe, 10250 Hegel Road, Goodrich continues to look for help.
“Not as of yet (receive applications), it would be nice if we did,” she said. “My concern is, why those people were collecting unemployment when we were so desperate for help? I sure could use some employees.”