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Metro Detroit businesses struggle to find workers amid COVID-19 unemployment bonuses

Several businesses looking to hire workers

DETROIT – Many businesses in Metro Detroit and around the state of Michigan are having a hard time finding workers since the coronavirus (COVID-19) unemployment bonuses don’t expire until the end of the month.

READ: Will extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits be extended or replaced by ‘back-to-work’ bonus?

Michigan businesses haven’t been hurting for customers since reopening earlier in June. Help wanted signs have been popping up all around town as businesses battle a lack of workers.

The signs are everywhere. Half a dozen of the signs stand in the Chubby Charlie’s Pizza lawn in Waterford Township. These types of employers said they know exactly when the worker shortage is likely to end.

Bob Sutherland, of Sutherland Lawn Sprinkler Service in Commerce Township, said it’s been “impossible” to find new employees despite a busy summer season of repairs and replacements.

His office bears signs saying help is not only wanted, but needed.

“No one’s applying because they’re sitting home collecting $900 a week from the government,” Sutherland said. “Why would you want a job?”

The actual total is $960 per week, and it’s even more for families.

Sutherland said the unemployment is what it is. The federal and state governments don’t want the unemployed for no fault of their own suffering.

MORE: Here’s what scammers are doing to target Michiganders filing for unemployment

Michigan Chamber of Commerce Vice President Wendy Block admitted the unemployment cash is distorting the economy.

“The economy can’t restart fully until employees are willing to return to work,” Block said.

Sutherland has work booked through the end of July. He said he could do more with more hands, but he’s going to wait it out and hope for workers who know what they’re doing.

The shortage of workers should end after July, unless Congress decides to approve another stimulus.

RELATED: Lawmakers tasked with fixing Michigan unemployment problems after hearing from frustrated residents

“There is this push and pull between wanting to make employees safe and not contracting the virus and resuming operations and issue paychecks to employees for them to pay their bills,” Block said.

The state unemployment rate is at around 20% despite the many job availabilities.


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