Local staffing shortage: Plenty of applicants but not enough interviews

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Labor has a new social media campaign to remind those on unemployment that “work search requirements” are still in place and will be enforced. However, some local businesses said people are applying for jobs but have no intention of taking them to meet those requirements.

“You want to sit at home and collect that? That’s what they tell us,” Scott Mcglauflin, General Manager for Spare Time in Clifton Park, said. “I think the easiest fix to the problem is going to be eliminating that $300 benefit before it expires.”

Mcglauflin has received plenty of applications for the bartender and server positions he needs to be filled. But he said when he reaches out to schedule an interview, applicants don’t respond or they tell him they only applied to meet their work search requirements to stay on unemployment.

For example, he said Spare time has received over 60 bartender applications since bowling alleys were permitted to reopen but only one interview.

According to the NYS Department of Labor, “If you do not search for work, document your search, and submit proof if asked, you could lose benefits and have to pay back benefits.”

To keep unemployment, you must do at least “three work search activities” each week: This includes submitting a job application and/or resume in response to a public notice.

Spare Time has nearly 20 locations across the country, and Mcglauflin said bowling alleys in those states which ended national enhanced unemployment aren’t facing staffing shortages like their locations in the Capital Region.

In response to business staffing shortages, 26 states have decided to end enhanced unemployment early. Currently, New York state’s federal enhanced unemployment isn’t set to expire until September 6th, along with the rest of the nation.

The Labor Department’s latest Unemployment Weekly Insurance Claims report stated that jobless claims went down by 7,000 compared to the previous week. Some economists believe this is a sign that Americans aren’t being laid off as frequently, and the job market is steadily improving.

In the Capital Region, businesses aren’t the only ones seeing this problem: Some local Non-profits can’t find employees either.

“These families are depending on us in their moment of crisis, and right now, we are having trouble staffing the organization,” Rayn Bonci, Founder of Things of My Very Own, said.

Things of My Very Own is a non-profit that provides crisis intervention for children who have been impacted by extensive abuse or neglect. Bonci said they need 14 employees to do just that. Right now, they only have four.

“We’re working 80 hours a week to make up for the lack of man power,” Bonci said.

Bonci regularly sees people still suffering firsthand from the pandemic and understands that childcare could be stopping people from returning to the job.

“Our team members are welcome to bring their children to work with them, or grandchildren or any children they’re caring for. And we welcome that, and we can’t get them in the door,” Bonci said.

The New York State Department of Labo told NEWS10 ABC they never waived ‘work search requirements” at any time during the pandemic, and there are consequences for falsifying availability to work.

“If someone is knowingly submitting these claims incorrectly, they are breaking the law and can be penalized,” the NYS Department of Labor stated. “When New Yorkers do their weekly certifications, they are reminded that they must be available to work; they must look for work, and they must make a work search plan.”

NEWS10 reached out to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and inquired if the state has considered ending enhanced unemployment before its September 6 expiration. NEWS10 hasn’t heard back.

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