Small businesses struggling to hire despite unemployment benefits ending

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — After nearly a year and a half, federal unemployment benefits put in place during the pandemic have ended. Now local businesses hope more people will come to work.

“Hiring is tough because a lot of people don’t want to work right now, and if you do hire them they only stay for a day or two then they’re gone,” said Jose Estremera, owner of Agnes All-natural Grill in Dayton.

Agnes All Natural Grill is now located in the iconic downtown Wympee Building. A soft launch was held Tuesday, Sept. 7. The grand opening is scheduled for the first week of October, but Estremera said he’s already facing challenges because of the worker shortage.

“It’s hard because of the hours, and we can’t extend our hours so we can’t really open late like we would like to,” he said.

The shortage is also impacting restaurants in Dayton’s Oregon District where employers are forced to make bold announcements to recruit workers.

“Everybody really enjoyed our late nights and I had to do away with that, originally because of COVID but now I need that staffing in order to do that,” said Guy Fragmin, the owner of 416 Diner.

Both restaurants are looking to hire front and back-end staff.

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