Silver Dollar City

Time to get back to work in Branson, Missouri

Missouri Gov. Parson ends extra $300 federal jobless benefit

Millions of cabin fever afflicted people have started descending on the tourist destination of Branson, Missouri as businesses have struggled to fill open positions. The number of available jobs exceeds the number of job applicants due to the extended unemployment benefits. Many attractions, restaurants and other places of business have had to limit hours and capacity due to the shortage, greatly affecting the ability to serve guests at the level they desire.

Of course, Branson is well known for the amazing, friendly and hard working people, and those who have been working long hours during the current labor shortage are about to get a reprieve. 

The Kansas City Star reports, “Missouri will halt additional unemployment benefits provided by the federal government during the pandemic next month, Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday. The move follows orders by Republican governors across the country to withdraw from the federal programs by the end of June to push workers back into the job market.”

“Despite our economy’s strong comeback many business owners and employers across the state are still struggling, not because of COVID-19, but because they can’t find people to fill the jobs to help address this labor shortage,” Parson said Tuesday.

The ownership of three businesses, Mel's Hard Luck Diner, Reflections and T Charlestons recently released a notice informing the public that they had to make the difficult decision to close on Mondays and Tuesdays.

“In my long career I have never experienced such a severe unemployment crisis. Our team members have been working long and strenuous hours since early March, serving a record number of visitors to our diner and shops and I appreciate so much their efforts. In the meantime, please be patient with us too as the waiting times for seating, your food or attention to your shopping needs may be longer than in the past.”

Missouri State Representative Brian Seitz recently submitted a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parsons highlighting the labor crisis and encouraging him to take action.

“It's no secret that local businesses in the state of Missouri have been, and continue to be, harmed by our broken unemployment system. Local businesses in my district, specifically restaurants, are currently unable to fully staff for the coming tourist season because of the excessive and unnecessary generosity of federal assistance. With local businesses attempting to open back up after a disastrous year, the time is now to begin more carefully scrutinizing unemployment requests to ensure that those who are truly unable to find work get the help they need, but those that are able to find employment, actually return to work when jobs are available.”

Job fairs and ads have extended well beyond the time when they usually finish up in Branson. By now, most positions have been filled during typical years. Up and down the Strip and throughout downtown and the various corners of the Branson region you still see help wanted signs. Some of these businesses are closing very early or not opening at all on days they would normally be open. 

People are in town and ready to invest their dollars into the region, but the opportunities for them to do so have not been as easy to find this year.

Some might have the question as to whether it's a good time to visit Branson due to the labor shortage. Many would suggest that it absolutely is. Though open days and hours are fewer, most every attraction, restaurant and business is open and excited to welcome guests. Many have already converged on Branson and had a full, fun vacation and it appears as if those who will be visiting the rest of the year will have additional smiling faces clocked in and ready to serve them.

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