As federal pandemic unemployment money is coming to an end, North Alabama restaurants are still struggling to find employees

Starting on June 19, the state will no longer participate in all federal pandemic unemployment programs.

Posted: May 14, 2021 7:18 PM
Updated: May 14, 2021 8:34 PM

Help wanted signs are posted across downtown Huntsville. Starting on June 19, the state will no longer participate in all federal pandemic unemployment programs. 

Despite unemployment benefits coming to an end, restaurants haven't seen an increase in applications.

The manager at La Esquina Cocina said full-time workers have the opportunity to make more than unemployment. 

"I think people would definitely be making more than what unemployment is," said Allen Jimenez, the manager of La Esquina.

Alabamians on pandemic related unemployment make an additional $300. 

"People getting that money, I understand, but there’s businesses like us that are trying to function and we need people," said Jimenez.

Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement, "We are hurting more and more business owners and employers that it is increasingly difficult to find workers to fill available jobs, even though job openings are abundant."

Jimenez said he expected more people to start applying, but applications are still not coming in. 

"Currently, on the weekends, I’m running six, seven workers, and in order to provide that good customer service that we like, we need two more servers on the floor," said Jimenez.

Down the road, Drake's restaurant is also struggling to find workers. 

"We haven’t seen an increase in application flow yet, but we’re expecting to see an application flow," said Chas Villanova, Market Partner of Drake's. "We’re trying to beat the streets and get out there in the community and do our part in recruiting." 

Both businesses said they're hiring for all positions. Alabama is one out of 16 states ending these unemployment benefits. 

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