New jobs report shows lackluster job gains as businesses struggle to fill positions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — You can find “now hiring” signs at nearly every business in town.

Despite available jobs, the U.S. reported a disappointing job gain for the month of April.

The country added about 266,000 jobs, far fewer than expected.

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At Si Señor Fresh Mex, employees are busy doing side work and getting ready for the dinner crowd.

Owner Johnny Mendez is so thankful for the workers he does have, but he needs more.

“It’s very difficult to find employees at this moment because of the benefits that they have,” he said.

And he’s not alone, so some businesses are getting creative.

A sign posted at Margaritaville offers potential new hires a $500 bonus.

Action News Jax also spotted a post on the Next Door app from a business looking for chocolate dippers and delivery drivers for Mother’s Day weekend, claiming, “Don’t worry if you’re collecting unemployment, we can pay you tax free”.

Montana and South Carolina announced they’re ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits for its residents next month.

Action News Jax asked Gov. Ron DeSantis if he’s considering doing the same, but we haven’t heard back.

“I think he strongly should consider that,” said Mendez.

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Action News Jax also reached out to Rep. John Rutherford, who sent the following statement:

“Today’s lackluster jobs report is a clear sign that businesses are struggling to compete with government unemployment benefits. We need to get folks back in the workforce, and that requires the proper incentives to do so. I’m glad to hear Governor DeSantis is reinstating the work search requirement for unemployment benefits and I’m committed to ensuring the federal government is there to support the citizens of Florida for as long as they need it.”

However, he didn’t elaborate on what those incentives would look like.

Unless states opt-out, the federal unemployment benefits of $300 a week are set to last untill Sept. 6. That’s not much of a reprieve for businesses that are stretched thin.

“Eventually we’ll take some time off again, but in the meantime, we’ve got to struggle and do what we need to do to maintain the staff and keep the quality service that our customers deserve,” said Mendez.