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Federal unemployment benefits come to an end, Lubbock businesses have openings

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 10:04 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - By the end of this week, Texans will no longer receive the additional $300 a week in federal unemployment aid. While Lubbock’s unemployment rate is better than the state’s, many employers are still struggling to hire.

At Llano Logistics, the employers had to get creative to get people to send in applications.

“What we are doing is we have offered enhanced attendance bonuses, so we give them more money. We already give an attendance bonus. We were giving up to $100 a week for people just to show up to their shifts. In addition to that, we’re giving enhanced referral bonuses,” Cash Eagan, vice president and general manager, said.

Normally, the distribution center for the United Family employs more than 500 people. Currently, it’s 60 to 70 team members short. Eagan says that means employees are working up to 15 hour shifts, sometimes 6 days a week.

“I have worked in the supply chain side of grocery for over 30 years. I’ve never seen anything like this,” Eagan said.

In May, the unemployment rate in Lubbock County was 4.6 percent, compared to 2.4 percent in 2019. For the state, the May rate was 6.5 percent, compared to 3.4 in 2019.

Danny Soliz, director of business development at Workforce Solutions South Plains, says even though additional benefits end after this week, it will take time to return to normal.

“Hopefully that’s going to change in the next couple of months. I’m not going to say it’s going to change next month. It won’t happen that rapidly,” Soliz said.

The nonprofit hosted a virtual job fair Wednesday with 39 employers. Soliz says the job sectors really needing a push are transportation, healthcare, retail and hospitality.

“Don’t look at the salary you were making before, you know. Consider the benefits, consider insurance, vacation time. Consider those benefits. Those will upset your hourly wage. Don’t wait ‘til the last minute. Don’t wait ‘til a month before your other benefits end,” Soliz said.

There’s a job fair next Thursday, July 1, for more than 100 positions within the United supply chain. It’s 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the MCM Elegante Hotel & Suites.

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