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'It's Time To Come Back' Say North Texas Business Owners Struggling To Find Employees

FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - For many business owners, this Labor Day weekend may well be remembered for the shortage of workers.

Elizabeth Villafranca, who owns four restaurants in Farmers Branch, Dallas, and Garland, said it's been a big problem.

"We are really struggling to find good people," said Villafranca.

She says her employees at her three Cuquita's Restaurants and at her Four Corners Cafe have been working a lot of overtime so they can stay open.

"There's only so much we can do without our employees just collapsing, it's really, really exhausting," she said.

At just about every storefront in this shopping center, it's the same story:

They all have "we're hiring" signs in their windows.

Villafranca said, "People are coming and they want $20 an hour which we're not able to pay."

Across Texas and the nation, some employment experts say workers are still trying to connect with the right jobs.

Many businesses though blame the worker shortage on the enhanced weekly federal unemployment benefits.

On Labor Day, in much of the country, that comes to an end.

Texas actually stopped providing that extra $300 federal weekly check at the end of June.

But another change is coming.

Texas is ending its own extended program.

This week, the state will stop providing an extra 13 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

It will go back to 26 weeks, which is what it was before the pandemic began.

Villafranca says she's grateful the government helped people but welcomes the change.

"It's time to come back. It's time for those benefits maybe to cease and for people to start coming out and making a living for their families," she said.

She's given her employees raises but says that's only one of the increasing costs she's facing.

"We've actually had to raise our prices because goods and services have gone up so much. Fajita meat used to be $4.00 and some cents a pound and now it's up to about $8.00 a pound. So everything has gone up exorbitantly."

Villafranca said she's grateful her customers keep coming back and hopes workers will too.

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