Topeka business owners report not being able to fill job openings

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Labor shortages have been popping up across the country, and Northeast Kansas is no exception.

With COVID-19 vaccines widely available and more people feeling comfortable dining out, Ryan Cavanaugh, one of the co-owners at the Brew Bank in Topeka, is looking to hire more summer workers.

“The important part about now is getting staff in and trained before summer really takes off,” Cavanaugh said.

The Kansas Department of Labor reported 3.7% unemployment for March last month, but Cavanaugh said he is having trouble finding people to hire. Multiple other restaurants in Topeka also reported having employment issues.

Washburn Professor Paul Byrne said it could be because of the added amount of money people are receiving from the unemployment benefits.

“Any worker who was earning about $35,000 a year would be able to get pretty much about what they were making cash-wise while they collect unemployment,” Byrne said.

Cavanaugh said he thinks it’s a combination of factors leading to the employment shortage, such as people might still be nervous to work in direct contact with the public because of COVID-19.

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