NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Lately, businesses have had to close their doors because there just aren't enough employees to take care of customers.

Tuesday, a sign hung on the door at 312 Pizza Company in Germantown displaying in all caps "CLOSED TODAY due to lack of staff."

Since it's getting harder to get people back to work post-pandemic, many employees are getting big sign-on bonuses or high hourly pay to work for a company.

Restaurants like PDK Southern Kitchen in Bellevue are looking to hire all shifts and even offering competitive pay of up to $14 an hour. But even that isn't working.

"We're using all of the available avenues that we have," explained Jeremy Jackson, the General Manager at PDK Southern Kitchen and Pantry. "We're going through Tax Recruiter and Indeed... and we're just not getting a lot of hits."

Last month, state labor officials reported around 167,000 unemployed Tennesseans compared to the more than 250,000 advertised jobs.

With the current boost of $300 per week, Tennesseans on unemployment are bringing home a $575 check every week. Governor Bill Lee is joining five other states by pulling that $300 bonus in July-- making the checks go back to the standard $275 a week. A move his office is making in hopes that it motivates residents who are choosing not to go back to work because of the higher government payments. Because of that, many businesses are offering their own bonuses to get workers in the door.

"What we've started doing is offering incentives to our employees," said Jackson. "So if they can get someone else to come in, we'll offer them $500, plus their buddy $500 if they come in."

On the flip side, a number of challenges are slowing the return to work for many Americans. School reopenings and daycares are on a different, often delayed schedule than most workplaces. Lingering uncertainty about health risks and job security are also prevalent. Many people moved during the pandemic to take advantage of less restrictive community rules or be closer to family. Others are still waiting for their pre-pandemic jobs to take them back full-time.

 

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Meteorologist / Reporter

Melanie Layden is the weekend morning meteorologist at WSMV. She also has a segment during the week called "Growing Nashville" where she covers the growth of Music City. Melanie has been Working 4 You since 2014.

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