York County Business Leaders See Change in Worker Shortage After S.C. Federal Unemployment Benefits End



YORK COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – It’s been nearly one month since South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster‘s order to end extended unemployment benefits in the Palmetto State was put into action.

That decision made by the governor to ease labor shortages and help businesses recover from the pandemic. That means those who qualified for those extended benefits are no longer receiving that extra $300 from the federal government.

It’s been nearly one month since Governor Henry McMaster directed the Department of Employment and Workforce to pull out of extended federal unemployment benefits in the Palmetto State. Now, business owners in our area who we caught up with early on in the pandemic, experiencing labor shortages of their own, saying they are beginning to see more employees come back, some are seeing less than expected.

Empire Pizza’s Rose Chmielewski, says, “I think the biggest part of navigating through the pandemic was opening back up and not having the employees that we needed.”

Hoof & Barrel’s John Hines, saying, “We had to close down for a couple of weeks and then we got enough staff to run one shift so we are open for dinner and now we’ve got enough people to do six days a week.”

York County Regional Chamber President, Dean Faile, says, “What we’re noticing particularly in the hospitality industry, a number of industries are struggling to get enough talent in but there’s another part beyond just the talent. A lot of folks on the hospitality particularly restaurants are feeling the pinch of higher cost of goods. So they’re kind of getting hit with a double whammy which is COVID related.”

In a statement Governor McMaster saying there were more than 80,000 jobs available in South Carolina. Economic leaders noting that $300 federal extension benefits were cut in 26 states and states with the lowest unemployment insurance benefits are recovering the fastest.

“Those states have recovered really fast because the workers in that case they really don’t have the incentives to stay home,” says Dr. Lou Pantuosco.

Dr. Lou Pantuosco, chair of the Accounting, Finance and Economics Department at Winthrop University, says there could be long-term economic affects.

“I think there’s a couple of potential long-term issues here and one is that you know you’re finding that small businesses are going to struggle to keep workers unless they pay more and that means prices are going to have to go up. So they go back to work as opposed to, and wages are going up as well so that helps the worker to get back to work,” says Dr. Pantuosco.

He says the other impact deals with inflation. You may have noticed prices on the rise. He says there’s debate on whether those cost are temporary or here to stay. Business leaders saying among many take aways of the pandemic more people now know the true value of employees.

“Your employees are valuable. And to treat them the way they should be treated I definitely feel like that’s something that’s been learned,” says Chmielewski.

In the video above, CN2s Rachel Richardson is taking a look at where the ending of those federal benefits has left business owners in our area.

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