Illinois restaurant owners looking to hire more staff say, ‘No one wants to work’

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DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Several places across Central Illinois are hiring, but they say they can’t find people who want a job.

Nick Morganthaller, who owns two restaurants in Decatur, knows this better than most. He said business has picked up, but it’s been “impossible to find anybody that wants to come to work.”

Morganthaller said he’s posted ads saying the restaurants are looking to hire more staff, but after one full month, he’s only received one application. He blames this on the government’s financial assistance.

“The government has made it too easy just basically with all the stimulus money, and then the extra money on the unemployment, and then extending the unemployment for people that have just been on unemployment,” he said “They make more money to stay home than work.”

Morganthaller said he and his staff have to work 12- to 14-hour shifts every day just to keep the business afloat, adding that the long hours “take a toll.”

“My whole kitchen needs more help,” he said. “I’m glad that we’re closed on Mondays because we get a break.”

Leah Stukins has run into similar problems. She also owns a restaurant in Decatur and said she’s opening a new one across the street from her other place in a few weeks. She’s trying to hire more people to work but hasn’t had much luck so far.

“We’ve placed a few ads on the internet and have not gotten a lot of responses, so we’re going to try a couple other avenues and see what we can do because these are good positions,” she said.

Stukins said as the weather gets warmer, she expects the restaurant to get even busier. She’s hopeful she’ll be able to hire more employees before the summertime.

Local employment offices say there are too many jobs to fill and not enough people wanting to work, but they expect this to change when unemployment runs out.

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package extended the $300 weekly unemployment benefits through Sept. 4.

Before Biden signed the legislation last week, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed concern about the unemployment benefits.

“There is a concern about making it more advantageous to stay home rather than going back to work,” McConnell said earlier this month on Fox News Channel’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 770,000 — climbing from 725,000 the week before — in a sign that layoffs remain high even as much of the U.S. economy is steadily recovering from the coronavirus recession.

A total of 4.1 million people are continuing to collect traditional state unemployment benefits, down 18,000 from the previous week. Including separate federal programs that are intended to help workers displaced by the health crisis, 18.2 million Americans were receiving some form of jobless aid in the week of Feb. 27, down by 1.9 million from the week before.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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