Since March 15, 2020, more than 2.4 million Michiganders have received more than $38 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
Those benefits ended on Sept. 4, including any extra benefits unemployment claimants got from the pandemic.
Businesses are hopeful with the benefits ending, more people will get back to work.
“It’s not what we’re used to and what we’d like to be doing still,” said Provisions Sport Shop owner Jeff Hodges.
Provisions Sport Shop is a year round sporting goods store in downtown Ludington.
Hodges has had a difficult time finding people to work during their busiest season.
“We just don’t have any extra help,” he said. “It has certainly curtailed the amount of business we could do.”
Because if their staffing shortage, they close early during the week and don’t open on Sundays, something they’ve never done before
“You’ve got to give your people a day off,” said Hodges. “You can’t work them seven days a week.”
Across the street, Luciano’s Ristoranti has been doing the same thing—closing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“We only use one room,” said co-owner Ghada Karadsheh. “I cannot use the other room because I don’t have staff, I don’t have waiters to wait on them.”
They used to have ten people working the front of the restaurant between busing and waitressing.
Now, they have ten staff members total.
“We cannot take a name, we cannot take a reservation or anything, you come in, if there is a table available, we just put you in,” said Karadsheh.
With the announcement of the extra unemployment benefits ending, both businesses say it’s a little too late for their busy season.
“Now we’re slowing down. Hopefully somebody will come and apply, even when winter is here,” said Karadsheh. “We get some business, you know. Here it’s summer business only.”
But they’re hopeful these changes will get applicants in the door soon.
“We’re going to find out if that changes here in the next few weeks hopefully it does and we’ll get more people back to work,” said Hodges.