U.S. restaurants and stores are raising their pay in an effort to bring in more applicants. As COVID restrictions ease, the consumer demand rises rapidly, causing the need for customer service workers to soar as well. Nina Anderson helps job candidates find employment, and has noticed a significant drop in applicants.
“We used to get five applications a day, I think the last two weeks we’ve averaged two per week,” says Anderson.
Many companies are struggling to find workers, and Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke says there may be a reason for that, “The unemployment benefits in particular, when you factor in the $300 that the Federal Government puts on top of the State Unemployment. It does, for a log of those lower wage positions, it’s very close to what they might be making if they were working,” explains Schwenke.
She says the Grand Valley’s economy is already growing from easing pandemic restrictions, and more people rejoining the workforce would continue to help.
However, while getting more people back to work will be beneficial for the economy, it’s important to remember that raising wages may raise prices of everyday things we buy, even a simple cup of coffee. “Higher wages are likely to also include higher prices for consumers, so everything from the gas pumps, which we’re already seeing, to restaurant prices,” continues Schwenke.
This could impact businesses more than people realize, “There’s a tipping point right, and if that tipping point is that you’re having to pay more than what people are willing to pay for the services than the services could become obsolete or there could be a reduction in hours,” continues Anderson.
With staffing down 10-15%, businesses across the board are attempting to navigate which incentives will bring more workers in the door, and which could close them for good.