Thursday, March 30, 2023

Some Columbia Businesses Beginning to Find Employees, Others Still Struggling

Some Columbia Businesses Beginning to Find Employees, Others Still Struggling

As mask mandates end and residents begin venturing back to businesses in larger volumes, many employers are still looking to hire employees.

Ben Huang, owner of Okii Mama in Columbia said he’s struggled to find stable employees at his business on the south side of town.

Huang said business has been slower during the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of employment hasn’t hurt as much, but he said as business begins to pick up, help is needed.

At the same time, Huang also owns Yogoluv in downtown Columbia. The business owner said college students and particularly freshman at the University of Missouri staying to get in state tuition has been a tremendous help.

Huang said he was able to hire multiple college students for the summer at Yogoluv and is extremely happy college students are back in droves.

“Very important if there’s a lot of college students that stick around and come out and work and just buy things here like food and different things to help out small businesses.” Huang said. “I mean we’re a college town so it definitely reflects when there’s no college students here.”

Statewide, unemployment numbers are up in Missouri for the last week reported ending May 29, according to the state’s website.

There were 8,644 initial claims made that week, an uptick from the week prior when only 5,852 residents made initial claims.

Governor Parson also announced in May that the state would cease participating in COVID-19 unemployment benefits beginning June 12.

“It’s time that we end these programs that have incentivized people to stay out of the workforce,” Parson said. “This is an important step to returning to normalcy and strengthening our economy,” Parson said.