HOBE SOUND, Fla. — A Hobe sound restaurant owner says he can't find workers because of stimulus checks and unemployment. That's despite new jobless numbers released Thursday showed jobless claims are up in Florida.
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Craig Kingston, the owner of the Taste Casual Grille in Hobe Sound, isn't at a loss for customers. It is the workers he needs.
"If you know of anybody, send them my way," Kingston said.
He said he has been unable to find anyone to fill the four to five positions he is looking for.
That resulted in him posting a sign that reads:
"Due to the government stimulus checks and continued miss use of unemployment checks. Good help is hard to fine [sic]. So till people want jobs, we will be closed Mondays."
"This is a problem that I believe is not even countywide, but it could be statewide. We're all experiencing low help," Kingston said.
The problem of trying to find workers is even odder when you consider new numbers from the Department of Labor, which shows unemployment claims in Florida going up, 71,046 new claims in the last week, which is up 8,000 from the previous week.
"The system is just trying to catch up with the immense amount of demand of people who have needed help, and Florida frankly has been worse than many," Mark Hamrick, a senior economist at Bankrate.com.
Hamrick said the downturn in Florida's hospitality industry also affects other areas such as construction and manufacturing.
He believes many potential workers are not seeking employment because their lives have changed with the pandemic.
"For example, people who left the labor force either because they have to stay at home and care for someone who is sick or children who haven't been able to go to school, or frankly they just deem it unsafe to go to work," Hamrick said.
Kingston admits health concerns may also be at play here as he keeps looking to hire.
"It's making it really hard on the staff that I have. We're all working very long hours,” Kingston said.