Restaurant lobby groups and CEOs helped many GOP governors now end unemployment benefits amid pandemic

According to the Congressional Research Service, the leisure and hospitality sectors experienced some of the worst levels of unemployment in April 2020, when the pandemic was first declared. A year later, the industry is now publicly struggling to rebuild itself as the pandemic subsides. Restaurant owners lament persistent labor shortages, despite a wide range of new efforts to attract applicants, ranging from referral bonuses, higher wages, health care and vacation benefits, and Moreover.

Many economists said that awarding the $ 300 supplement for massive labor shortages is probably an oversimplification of what is really going on. For example, worker advocates have pointed out that despite the decrease in Covid-19 cases, significant barriers to finding meaningful employment remain, including lack of access to childcare services and low wages.

“We make a lot of assumptions about why people are unemployed and can’t have these jobs,” said Nicole Marquez, director of social insurance for the National Employment Law Project, referring to the narrative that people choose to live. benefits rather than filling vacant positions. For the sake of long-term recovery, she suggested that lawmakers reject the easy-going talk of a ‘labor shortage’ and instead consider policies that might make existing employment opportunities more attractive and sustainable for women. the workers.

“People want to work,” Marquez said. “And they want to work in jobs that have good systems and supports in place, like affordable child care, paid family leave, be able to have secure and healthy jobs, and decent wages.

But that’s no excuse for staying out of a job, if you ask Gov. Abbott.

“The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities across the state,” he said in his announcement in mid-May. “At this point in the state being 100% open, the goal must be to help unemployed Texans connect with over a million job openings, rather than paying benefits. of unemployment to stay off the job lists. “


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