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Businesses struggle to find workers in Northeast Ohio

The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate recently dropped from 5.2 percent to 4.8 percent despite 194,000 jobs being posted in September.

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday nearly 200,000 jobs were listed as open in September, but that the unemployment rate has gone down.

Many industries say they can’t fill open positions, which is leaving some beloved businesses to struggle -- or even worse, close.

Hiring signs are posted everywhere.

“It’s unbelievable. We’ve never seen this happen ever,” General Manager for Slyman’s Downtown, Sam Slyman, said.

The Cleveland staple has been no exception to the ripple effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy.

“I don’t know if the virus is affecting people as in they’re scared and they don’t want to go back to work or if they just don’t want to work,” Slyman told 3News.

When a customer picks up their food Slyman’s, one of the first things they see is a “now hiring all positions” sign. Slyman said the sign has been posted for three weeks and not a single person has come in for an application.

The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate recently dropped from 5.2 percent to 4.8 percent despite 194,000 jobs being posted in September and attributed the decrease in unemployment to some people finding jobs but that others are not looking for work.

RELATED: US employers add a weak 194,000 jobs as delta maintains hold

“There is work, but nobody wants to go back to work,” Slyman said.

Slyman said they’ve cut back on days the shop is open, increased pay as an incentive to future employees, but can’t afford to even operate with an open dining room.

“We are at like seven or eight [employees.] We need double of that to go back to normal,” Slyman told 3News. “[We need] more staff in the back, more staff in the front of the house.”

Labor shortages have forced other beloved Cleveland staples to close, such as The Winking Lizard Huron location and the separately owned Slyman’s Tavern.

The shortage has impacted a vast amount of industries, including one vital to a Northeast Ohio winter: Snowplow drivers.

The city of Cleveland and the Ohio Department of Transportation sounded the alarm early about a lack of seasonal snowplow drivers.

“We are experiencing, you know, a hardship trying to find folks that have the licenses that can come and do the work that we need them to do,” said Amanda McFarland with the Ohio Department of Transportation. “Snow and ice doesn’t just happen from 9 to 5.”

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