50,000 Arkansans collecting unemployment checks, local businesses can’t find people willing to work

Local News

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.—Despite thousands of Arkansans out of work and collecting unemployment checks, many companies say they can’t find anyone willing to fill their open positions.

Signs that read ‘We’re Hiring’ can be found on most main streets in Russellville.

“The fallacy that’s out there right now that there are no jobs is what’s killing me,” said Nesha Shields, Branch Manger for Penmac Staffing.

Shields says companies across the area rely on her office to supply them with individuals looking for work. However, for the past few months, she says it has been a struggle to generate job interest.

“We are pulling our hair out everyday here to try and get people placed in jobs— it’s a struggle,” said Shields. “If you hear someone saying that there are no jobs out there, that is not true.

The Dept. of Commerce says around 50 thousand Arkansans are pocketing some kind of unemployment check. According to Shields, many of those people have no intention of returning to work anytime soon.

“I can make more money drawing unemployment than I can if I go to work 40 hours a week, so I’m not going. it’s unbelievable,” said Shields. “Most of them are saying, I have too much money right now, so I don’t have to work.”

Shields says between individuals receiving stimulus checks, tax refunds, and unemployment assistance, people don’t want to work for the money.

“There are manufacturers right now that have to shut their lines down because there’s not enough people to man them,” Shields said.

She says with businesses in Russellville being forced to temporarily close due to staffing shortages, she hopes Arkansans who are able, will choose to head back to work.

“We’ve got to get this fixed, we’ve got to get it turned around, we’ve got to get people to understand that they have to work,” said Shields.

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