Abilene businesses hopeful end of extra unemployment benefits will bring workers back


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With Texas Governor Greg Abbott opting out of the federal pandemic unemployment benefits early, some Abilene businesses say they hope they will soon have the help they need.

Texas will end its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment compensation starting June 26, which includes the $300 weekly supplement.

There are quite a few “now hiring” signs posted around Abilene, and local businesses like McKay’s Bakery downtown need workers.    

“We’re literally looking for people that just want to show up and come to work,” says McKay’s manager Amy Riley.   

She says the bakery has been understaffed throughout the pandemic, and due to that shortage, their second location on South 14th Street is temporarily closed.   

“My poor girls are just troopers because they’ve all had to pull and rally to do three or four jobs, and you never know what’s going to happen when you walk in the back door,” says Riley.   

Like McKay’s, Little Italy on South 14th Street in Abilene is in the same boat.

“They try to come in and apply, but you know, usually they don’t show up,” says owner Luigi Tethn. “I don’t know why, but I can hire right now at least 5 or 6 of them.”

Tethn believes those federal pandemic unemployment benefits are there for people who really need help, but those who can work, should. 

“We need some help. It’s time for us to move and go back to work,” he says. “Just leave everything behind like nothing happened before.” 

Governor Abbott says there are nearly 60% more jobs open and listed in Texas today than there were in February 2020, the month before the pandemic hit Texas.

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