NFIB Calls on Sisolak to End Extra UI Benefits

Date: July 22, 2021

Letter to governor says paying $15 an hour to people to stay at home damaging to the state's economy

Dear Governor:

Small businesses are struggling in Nevada because they can not find the labor they need to operate, yet the state is doing little to encourage the 190,000 Nevadans who are on unemployment to get back to work.

Restaurants are closing indoor dining, reducing hours, closing a few days a week or closing permanently because they can’t find enough workers.

Many small business owners feel like it’s 2020 again when they were shut down!

If you don’t believe me, here are what restaurateurs are saying:

“We have been closed on Mondays at one of our locations as we can’t find enough staff to fill all shifts. The staff who are working are working overtime and they are exhausted! The dramatic increase in wages and continual overtime is taking a toll on our operating expenses and is unsustainable. Restaurants can’t survive under these conditions. In the midst of job fairs and signing bonuses due to labor shortages, Nevada continues to extend unemployment benefits while allowing federal unemployment funds to keep potential workers at home!” Jeff Ecker-President, Restaurant Consultants of Las Vegas

“I cry almost every day at work because I have reservations that I can’t fill. I can’t get enough wait staff or even cooks to operate our regular hours, so we are cutting back. We can’t continue to operate if things don’t change.” Serena Abowd, Adele’s daughter and manager of her father’s restaurant Stone House in Reno.

You can read many more stories in every media outlet across Nevada.

I’m sure you know that Las Vegas has the highest unemployment rate of the large metro areas. That is why your former colleagues at the Clark County Commission recently promoted a job fair in Las Vegas in the hopes of filling 12,000 job openings.

The latest National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) national survey of small businesses reported that 46% of all business owners have job openings they could not fill, far above the 48-year historical average of 22%. At a time when we desperately need construction workers to build homes, 60% of construction firms report that they have few or no qualified applicants for thousands of jobs.

A poll released this week by Morning Consult said that about 1.8 million out-of-work Americans have turned down jobs because of the generosity of unemployment insurance benefits.

When you combine the $300 a week from the federal government to the $354 a week that the average Nevadan collects from the state, you will see that the average Nevadan is being paid $15 an hour to stay home.

The headline of a June 27 article in The Wall Street Journal stated: “Americans Are Leaving Unemployment Rolls More Quickly in States Cutting Off Benefits.” The number of unemployment-benefit recipients is “falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 other states canceling enhanced and extended payments this month, suggesting that ending the aid could push more people to take jobs.”

I doubt you will refuse the extra funds from the federal government, but other states have been taking action to encourage people to return to work, and it is helping.

You are offering $5 million in incentives for people to get vaccinated, but there are no programs incentivizing people to get back to work.

You have stated time and again that you support small business. Well, we desperately need your support now to encourage Nevadans to get back to work.

Sincerely,

Randi Thompson
State Director
NFIB Nevada

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