St. Louis Restaurants Say Super Sized Unemployment Benefits, Stimulus Checks Keep Workers at Home

A waitress is holding a tray with dirty dishes and leftover food. Waitress cleaning the table in a restaurant. The concept of service.
Igor Vershinsky/Getty Images

A dozen restaurants in the Central West End area of St. Louis hosted a job fair Monday in the Chase Park Plaza ballroom but did not see many applicants come through the door, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“We just can’t find staff right now,” explained Billie Kilts, who manages the sushi restaurant at Drunken Fish. “And it’s not just hard to find good employees, it’s hard to find employees, period.”

Bar and restaurant owners are working to recharge operations, but find it difficult to hire enough employees to meet demand.

“Explanations for the dismal turnout were fairly uniform,” the outlet continued:

Paul Filla, the Chase’s general manager, put the blame on the $300-per-week boost to unemployment benefits recently renewed by Congress through early September. That, plus Missouri benefits that max out at $320 per week, means jobless checks could still be adding up to more than a full-time job at $15 an hour.

Although Filla said the extra funds in 2020’s federal relief aid made sense when things were difficult, he added, “But what was warranted — what was needed — in Round 1 may not have been what was needed in Rounds 2, 3, 4, or 5.”

DJ Holmes who is the general manager at Kingside Diner, echoed his report. The $600 and $1,400 stimulus checks issued recently have not boosted hiring, the Post-Dispatch article read.

“You just have more money so you don’t need to get back out there as fast,” he noted.

The nation’s incomes grew exponentially in March, reflecting the billions in direct stimulus payments from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan President Joe Biden recently pushed through Congress, Breitbart News reported:

Yet much of the money was saved. Consumer spending rose by 4.2 percent, the Commerce Department said. The savings rate jumped to 27.6 percent, up from an already high level of 13.9 percent in February. Excess household saving now totals around $2.3 trillion.

That is an indication that many households did not need the handout. It also creates the potential for further inflationary pressures in the months ahead if consumers decide the spend down their savings.

According to the Central West End’s job fair press release, the local businesses were looking to fill over 75 positions.

Applicant Craig Bausley told the Post-Dispatch he was done with not going to work.

“Sitting at home collecting unemployment, I couldn’t stand that,” he said, adding, “Because it’s gonna end in a minute anyway.”

The maximum unemployment benefits available to individuals in Missouri is $620 a week, or about $23 per hour, according to Zip Recruiter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.