We're Hiring: Businesses compete for new workers, increase pay for new hires

Staffing forces some restaurants to cut back hours
We're hiring
Posted at 6:44 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 19:40:30-04

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — Unemployment job claims continue to fall in Ohio, but businesses told News 5 that they still can’t fill their openings.

Ohio jobless claims from April 25 - May 1 show 18,642 initial jobless claims were filed. In total, 235,647 continued jobless claims were filed last week, about 30% fewer than the peak of last year.

In the last 59 weeks, 3.28 million claims have been filed in Ohio; a number that is more than the combined totals from 2013-2019.

For quite some time, a “we’re hiring” sign has hung outside Jessica Goff’s convenience store in Painesville.

“We need more people out here working, we really do,” she said. “It’s money in my pocket. It’s clothes on my back, a place to live, food on the table. C’mon, what more can you ask for?”

She’s not alone.

“We’re hiring” signs continue to pop up all over like flowers blooming in the spring.

Restaurants continue to see the problem firsthand as they ramp up for the summer and customers return.

According to OpenTable, only 7% of restaurant operators said recruitment and retention was their number one challenge in January. By April, that number was 57%, with some restaurants closing entirely.

“As we started losing some employees or not being fully staffed for the demand, we had to change our hours just temporarily for Sunday, which we’re only open 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. now,” Anthony Gilles at Pub Frato near Painesville said.

News 5 asked Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about the worker shortage at restaurants on Wednesday.

“I’m concerned,” he said. “It’s something we certainly are looking at to see if we can do about that.”

It’s not just restaurants dealing with this worker shortage. News 5 spoke with hiring leaders all across our area, who see firsthand how factors such as pandemic safety and ample unemployment benefits are keeping people at home.

“I mean it’s one of our top issues right now,” Briand Robbins with Midwest Materials Inc. said. “We just don’t have enough people to run as much as we could.”

At Midwest Materials Inc., this third-generation family-owned business has a “we’re hiring" flag outside to attract applicants, in addition to increasing their pay for new employees.

Adam Snyder sees the kinds of steps that small to midsize manufacturers are doing to attract new talent in Northeast Ohio. He’s helping them grow through the federally funded organization Magnet.

“I’ve seen more manufacturers raising their entry-level hourly rate in the last three months than collectively in the last two years,” he said.

Going forward, Snyder argues taking a job now will open more doors than ever before.

“Over the next four months, six months, a lot of people are going to be coming back into the workforce,” he said. “If you jump in ahead of those people, it’s that much more opportunity for you to be a lead, to be in that training program. That’s going to accelerate the pay, your progression.”