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Pandemic unemployment benefits end, businesses hope for surge in applicants

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Central Virginia businesses struggling to find workers could see a light at the end of the tunnel soon.

Many pandemic unemployment benefits expired over the weekend. The several financial safety nets keeping people afloat during the pandemic are no longer around. Many aren’t getting unemployment benefits anymore, losing hundreds of dollars a month.

“For the hospitality and retail industries, it has obviously been a really challenging time, everybody is looking to hire,” said Elizabeth Cromwell, the president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce. “I think they are hopeful that when some of the changes happen in the unemployment benefits that there will be more applicants coming forward.”

Day in and day out, Cromwell works with city and county businesses facing a variety of challenges. Restaurants often struggle the most when it comes to hiring.

“I know some of them have cut their hours because they just don’t have people to work in the in the dining rooms,” she said.

Cromwell says a new influx of applicants could be a game changer for businesses who depend on University of Virginia students.

“One thing about these unemployment benefits ending is that’s also happening at a time when the University of Virginia is coming back into session,” she said.

While Corner businesses feel the pressure of heightened foot traffic, Cromwell says this golden hiring period will be key in order for them to stay open at full capacity.

“It would be really unfortunate for businesses not to be able to maximize their hours that they’re open. That’s good for the business, and is good for our economy,” Cromwell said. “I’m really hopeful that we’ll be able to ramp up a lot of our businesses back into their full capacity.”

Cromwell also says one thing to be aware of is prices going up due to inflation and increased competition in the job market.

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