(KMOV.com) – Despite a staggering unemployment rate, local businesses say they are having trouble filling job openings.
News 4 spoke with the owner of three Subway shops in west St. Louis County who said trying to fill the positions is as hard as it’s been in 25 years.
Despite offering pay ranging from $9.25 to $15 per hour, several dollars higher than the minimum wage, all three sub shops are short staffed. Last Sunday, one of the locations closed for the day, and all three have consolidated hours to open later and close earlier.
"I have been offering $11 an hour I can't get people to come in and work," Linda Clay said.
Clay believes people are passing on the jobs because unemployment benefits are more attractive.
People who are unemployed in Missouri can receive up to 20 weeks of unemployment benefits but the Missouri Labor Department says those who have exhausted all their benefits can still receive additional benefits under the Federal Emergency Compensation Program.
The unemployment rate in Missouri is 6.7 percent, almost a full percentage point lower then the national average of 7.5 percent. The numbers indicate lots of people are in the market for work, but Clay's shops are not receiving applications; something especially surprising given the usual influx from high school and college students.
"The people next door to us at the other location have a huge "Now Hiring" sign up in their window, so, it's all the businesses around us," manager Mindy Wilhoit said.