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Local businesses see fewer applicants as pandemic restrictions are lifted


Boone County's new pandemic health order went into Wednesday at noon, lifting all occupancy limits on restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other businesses.

Social distancing and mask guidelines are still in effect at businesses even as occupancy limits have opened up.

However, as restrictions have been lifted recently and businesses have started to pick back up, local bars and restaurants are seeing fewer people applying for jobs.

Matt McGee, owner of On the Rocks in downtown Columbia, said he has been trying to hire new employees recently. McGee said operating hours have been extended and his business is growing, he hasn't had many people applying.

"I have had my hiring sign up for four weeks and have only received two applicants, which is rare. Normally, I would have 25-30," McGee said.

Robin Weatherford, owner of Tellers, said she could also use more help.

"It's happening to everyone at once so there is a limited number of applicants to go around, that's the issue," Weatherford said.

The lack of applications comes as 770,000 Americans filed first-time claims for the week ending on March 13, according to the US Department of Labor.

Overall, the job market in the country has shown improvement, adding 379,000 jobs last month, which is the most since October. Federal data included that the US is still down 10 million jobs since the pandemic started.

A report by the Associated Press said no single factor fully explains the still-high level of weekly applications for state unemployment aid. The report said the expansion of supplemental federal unemployment benefits has likely encouraged more jobless Americans to apply for aid.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Zola Crowder

Zola Crowder joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in June 2020 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a broadcast journalism degree. Before reporting at ABC 17, Zola was a reporter at KOMU where she learned to cover politics, crime, education, economics and more.


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