Staffing struggles continue as Ohio jobless claims dwindle

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DAYTON , Ohio (WDTN) — Even with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reporting 947 fewer unemployment claims, many industries like restaurants are still struggling to find employees.

“Most restaurants, businesses, retail especially, aren’t set up to provide because staffing has been quite the challenge,” said Brian Johnson, owner of Pizza Bandit in Dayton.

Johnson said he’s had to get creative to find ways to accommodate customers. “You see a lot of places reducing service hours, and quite frankly we’ve been wanting to expand pizza bandits hours, but we’re just not able to do that until we get more people on staff.”

Mike Zimmerman, public information officer for Montgomery County, said while it’s great to see state and county numbers getting better for unemployment claims, there’s still a lot of work needing to be done.

“Unemployment it’s still pretty high. If you look at pre pandemic, look back at February 2020, there were sub 3,000 people on continued claims … we’re still over that by quite a bit,” said Zimmerman.

For those who are looking for jobs, Zimmerman said the county can help. “Right now we’re recruiting for 69 companies. and over 1200 positions open, so there’s a ton of jobs.”

Johnson believes it’s not people wanting to avoid work, rather they’ve found other options. “I think they’ve been retrained and found other ways to sustain themselves. A lot of people started their own small businesses over the pandemic.”

For now, Johnson asks restaurant-goers to be patient and understand the restaurant industry is still trying to get back on their feet. “If there’s something wrong, talk about it, but do it with graciousness and understanding.”

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