Virginia Beach business struggles to find employees as federal unemployment benefits expire next month

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Posted at 2:54 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 17:04:05-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The phones at Two Maids & A Mop are ringing off the hook as there's high demand for cleaning services right now, but owner Lee Sheridan says it's been a struggle to find enough employees.

"The unfortunate reality is we just are having a difficult time bringing on new employees," Sheridan told News 3.

Sheridan, like other business owners across Hampton Roads, says he keeps having potential employees fill out applications, do interviews, and then just vanish.

"It's crippling to be honest," he said.

Right now, people on unemployment benefits in Virginia have to prove they are actively looking for work. Sheridan thinks people are just filling out applications and not following through.

"We're seeing an unintended consequence for a small business in just attempting to bring people on board," he said.

Soon, some changes are coming. In early September, federal enhanced benefits will be expiring. A local economist says that combined with kids going back to school in-person should help.

"With the expanded unemployment benefits stopping in early September and with kids going back to school, we should start to see some of this drag," said ODU economist Dr. Robert McNab.

The Virginia Employment Commission didn't respond to questions from News 3 today about what safeguards are in place, but there is a section of the VEC site where people can report fraud.

"It really takes the wind out not only of my sails from an owner's perspective but also the individuals who currently work here because they are getting stretched pretty thin," said Sheridan.

He's hoping leaders will get the message that it's tough right now to hire enough people and is optimistic things will improve.