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Biden wants to bring the economy from relief to recovery.  A labor shortage can signal problems for these plans.


“We went from 92 hours to 55 hours a week,” said Eisenbraun, who opened the brewery and restaurant in 2015 with her husband, after a decade of planning. “It’s a tough business model right now to shut down during these hours.”

“We are trying everything we can,” Eisenbraun said. “There just aren’t the people there right now.”

From Washington Township, which is less than an hour’s drive north of Detroit, hiring challenges are a critical piece of the complex economic puzzle facing the Biden administration. It’s a blatant warning sign here in Michigan and across the country, but a sign that White House officials say helps advance their broad economic proposals.

It’s an open question whether economic downturns – from a labor shortage to rising prices at the grocery store and gas pump – signal a short-term headache or a challenge. long term for the president. He will travel to Michigan on Tuesday to visit an electric vehicle hub at Ford Motor Co., showcasing the new F-150 Lightning that adds an electric battery option to America’s best-selling truck.

But just as Biden’s fortune was tied to taming the coronavirus pandemic, it is also tied to an economic recovery. The remainder of his presidency will likely increase or decrease due to this rebound, creating a ripple effect for the 2022 congressional election and its schedule.

“Yes, he will be judged by how the economy is doing – like all of us,” said Representative Debbie Dingell, Democrat of Michigan. “So our job is to work together and keep the economy strong.”

In an interview on Monday, Dingell said the labor shortage was very real – as were its root causes, including childcare issues that could prevent people from returning to work. She said lingering fears of Covid-19 – particularly in a state that has just emerged from the clutches of a spring wave – as well as women leaving the workforce in droves are also contributing to a labor shortage. artwork.

When asked if she was optimistic about the economy, Dingell said, “I’m going to choose to be optimistic, and it’s my responsibility and everyone’s responsibility to make sure we take this into account. this optimism. “

But realizing that optimism means fighting the undeniable economic headwinds – many of which revolve around rebuilding the dying American workforce.

“Throughout the pandemic there has been a need for workers and now we are starting to see an increase in the number of people coming in looking for work,” said Eva Garza Dewaelsche, president of SER Metro-Detroit Jobs for Progress , a workforce development organization. “There are a lot of unfilled jobs, which is why we are going to need vocational training.”

She added: “Finally, I see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.”

There are, of course, many reasons for optimism – economic and otherwise – as the country begins to move beyond mandatory mask policies and other restrictions imposed during the pandemic. But the economic recovery remains remarkably fragile as long as the fight against the coronavirus continues.

Margie Martin is an employment specialist in Detroit, who connects workers and jobs. She is at the forefront of one of the biggest political questions on the president’s economic agenda: Are government unemployment checks keeping potential employees out?

“I don’t think so,” said Martin, who believes challenges in finding child care, transportation to work and lingering fears of Covid remain threatening factors driving the shortage labor.

“Obviously we’re going to have people who could benefit from it,” she added, “but my own personal experience is that there are other issues that don’t allow someone to find a job, as a single mom has no support. system, or her kids are at home. “

A growing number of states – at least 14 and over – have called for the removal of enhanced federal unemployment benefits this summer. Michigan is now reinstating its obligation for workers to show they are looking for work to receive benefits, a practice that was abandoned a year ago when the pandemic began.

“There is no longer a shortage of jobs,” said Brian Calley, CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “I have never heard or seen this level of frustration and worry about the inability to find or fill open jobs.”

In the city of Sterling Heights, which is just north of Detroit, Mayor Michael Taylor is a Republican who keeps a close eye on the new president. He backed Biden in last fall’s election and said in a weekend interview, “I’m very happy with my decision.”

But Taylor said the labor shortage is the biggest concern of business owners.

“In the very short term, I think that’s a problem,” Taylor said. “It certainly seems to me that there are enough jobs out there for people who need to work to find jobs.”

With the start of the summer season, the lack of manpower is increasingly felt.

Eisenbraun offers a “bonus program” for employees who recruit new workers. It also offers health care, dental care, and a 401 (k) plan – much more competitive than many restaurants or bars.

“Happy employees mean a happier customer experience. A happier customer experience means more revenue, ”she said. “This is something that we are investing in, but we have to bring these employees back here.”

She rejects critics, including elected officials, who blame employers for the labor shortage. She said she and many other small business owners were generous and creative in trying to fill vacant staffing positions.

“I think the misconception I see from politicians is that the reason people don’t go back to work is that the jobs are not worth it, that they are low paying jobs,” Eisenbraun said. “But they are not.”

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