Business owners say employees are reluctant to come back to work

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- New state unemployment numbers show nearly 22% of Californians are now out of work. That's almost one in four people across the state.

While some are just starting to receive their benefits, some business owners preparing to reopen are finding it hard to get their employees back to work.

In February, unemployment across the state was 3.9% - the lowest in recent years. But just a few months later, it's skyrocketed nearly 20% higher.

Fresno County is no different.

Retail has taken the biggest hit, along with tourism and hotels. Entertainment-based industries like movie theaters, casinos, and sporting events account for another group of workers showing high rates of unemployment.

Cat Barco is a hairstylist who owns Studio One Salon in Fresno. It's been eight weeks since she last worked.

"I barely got my unemployment a couple weeks ago so now that has really helped, but still with us not knowing when I'm going to go back to work is kind of worrisome," she says.

Lewis Everk owns five restaurants in Fresno and Clovis. Lately, he's been working on hiring new people because many of his current employees would like to continue sheltering at home, receiving unemployment.

"Now I think people are realizing that they're making a lot more on unemployment and they're somewhat reluctant to come back to work. We've been struggling a bit with calling people back," says Everk.

The decision means another expense- putting new hires through the entire training process.

"To bring in new staff because the staff that we had before is just comfortable staying home and collecting that unemployment is making it that much more difficult for us to open up," he says.

The big question for business owners and workers receiving unemployment is whether the federal government will continue to add the $600 a week Cares Act Money beyond the July 25 expiration date.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.