Looking for help in McAllen, Texas is an understatement. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, local businesses are struggling to find workers to meet demand.
“As a small business owner, I’m concerned about job creation,” says Eliza Garza, co-owner of Iced Cube Shaved Ice.
Garza and her business partner Margret Debruyn opened the shop in November 2020. They now manage three locations and plan to market their brand nationally in the coming weeks.
“I find it difficult to find employees,” says Garza. “The good thing about this business is that it thrives on young teenagers looking to have a fun job for the summer. However, when it comes to finding higher management, it is difficult to find people who want to work now. “
Companies across the country have raised similar concerns. An additional $ 300 a week of unemployment benefits has encouraged many to stay home, but that is a thing of the past in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott announced that his state would leave the state on Jan.
On Thursday, President Biden said employers would have to pay more to encourage workers to return.
“This is the subject of an employee’s negotiation, what is happening now. You have to compete against each other and start playing [sic] hard working people get a decent wage, ”said Biden.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), nearly 45% of the positions advertised offer wages in excess of $ 15.50 an hour. About 76% pay more than $ 11.50 an hour. Only 2% of the advertised positions pay roughly the minimum wage.
“It was really a struggle, especially for cooks. There aren’t enough of them, says George Castaneda, owner of the Hacienda San Miguel Mexican Grill and Bar. “I don’t know what it is. I can’t touch it with my finger. But before the pandemic, we only had people knocking on our door looking for work. Now there aren’t too many people looking for work, ”says Castaneda.
McAllen’s newly elected Mayor Javier Villalobos says another problem affecting small businesses is the ongoing closure of the southern border.
“Our bridges are closed. We have two bridges in Anzalduas and we also have Hidalgo. Hence, people cannot come across it because of COVID. Now it’s a little difficult for us to understand how other people can and are allowed to come in, but people who cross legally cannot. It affects our economy; it specifically affects our inner city. Many Mexicans come here and do their shopping. So it concerns us. As soon as it opens, we hope that we will be back where we were before, ”says Villalobos.
The Department of Homeland Security announced on June 20 that the borders with Mexico and Canada would remain closed until at least July 21.