Steve Spurrier's Grille is located at Celebration Pointe. (Jessica James/WUFT News)

Employers Struggle To Fill Openings As Florida Unemployment Benefits Continue Until The End of June

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Beginning on June 27, Florida will no longer provide the Pandemic Unemployment Benefits of $300 per week.

Under the new rules established on May 30, those collecting this type of unemployment must search for jobs weekly and submit these searches to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Despite these changes, many employers are still struggling. That’s particularly true for Spurrier’s Grille in Gainesville.

Steve Spurrier’s Rooftop Bar needs at least 120 more employees before it can open. (Jessica James/WUFT News)

“We’re coming off of a pandemic, so every restaurant laid people off and every restaurant is looking to hire,” Freddie Wehbe, part-owner of the restaurant, said.

Wehbe emphasized the large role unemployment played in their limited applicant pool. The restaurant predicts it will open near the end of summer, but is still struggling to find staff to uphold these goals.

“We do have the quality, but not enough quantity and we’re hoping in the next few weeks we start seeing that,” he said.

About 120 employees need to be hired before it can open.

In addition to these shortcomings, Wehbe emphasized the restaurant is looking for elevated applicant qualities.

“We’re not just looking for experience, we’re also looking for good attitudes,” he said.

Express Employment Professionals can attest to the issues Florida business owners and employers are facing.

Business Development Manager at Express Employment Professionals Chris Vermeulen said the job market is currently an employee market, and not an employer one.

“Get into the job market now and I mean today,” he said. “Get your foot into the door of companies you’d never previously be able to get into.”

Vermeulen adds that many employers are open to adjusting the qualifications they use to hire employees. For example, many companies are lowering the years of experience they are requiring or college degrees they need to employ people.

“Many companies are now saying they would like someone who is a hard worker and are willing to train and teach these people as long as they’re willing to show up on time,” he said.

Vermuelen emphasized that tax returns and stimulus also contributed to high unemployment rates. He said some entry level positions pay less than the combination of unemployment benefits with this extra government money.

“We’re getting a lot more applications, but many of them are not necessarily valid as many people just want to check off a box and say they applied to five jobs this week,” he said.

People seeking employment can visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website. There are currently over 460,000 job openings throughout the state.

About Violet Comber-Wilen

Violet is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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