TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Unemployment in Indiana has been a heavily discussed topic. It comes after many businesses across the state are looking to hire employees, but are having little to no luck filling open positions.
Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday signed an executive order that would once again require Indiana residents requesting unemployment benefits to show proof they are actively seeking employment.
Indiana’s unemployment rate currently sits at 3.9%.
Blake Cesinger, Owner of Roly Poly Sandwiches, recalled on the multiple short staffed nights his business has endured.
“It was definitely hard. I went about two months, with just me and two employees, when I need about six,” Cesinger said. “We almost had to cancel deliveries because the wait time was getting so high for people.”
Another difficulty Roly Poly encountered was difficulty to hire employees. Cesinger said out of five job interviews scheduled only one person showed up.
“It was frustrating because I really thought people were looking for jobs,” Cesinger said.
Susie Thompson, Executive Director of Reach Services, noted COVID-19 has impacted candidates searching for employment.
“So many people have lost their jobs in COVID and they were making good money. They had good jobs,” Thompson said. “But, what has happened now are the jobs that are available, are not of the same jobs they had or the same quality.”
Thompson supports Holcomb’s executive order and accountability; however, she thinks other factors contribute to increasing unemployment. Those include mental health needs and the price point of minimum wage.
“It’s hard to justify, going to work for 15-20 hours a week at $7.25. That’s not even going to put groceries on the table, it’s not going to make resources available for your family,” Thompson said.
Cesinger said small business would have difficulty raising their starting wage significantly due to expenses.
“Some of these small businesses can’t afford $15-$16 when they don’t make that,” Cesinger said.
Reach Services assists families dealing with job and financial loss due to the pandemic. The organization helps stabilize families with financial loss as they try to readjust to their current circumstances.
Thompson stated that the organizations strongly encourages finding employment.
“All of the families we help, want to work. All of those people are trying to find a way out, most people do want to work,” Thompson said.
Terre Haute officials did confirm that restaurants along Wabash Avenue are being impacted by the need for employees. Eat in the Streets will now happen on the first weekend of every month, instead of every weekend.