Being a college town has proved a blessing to Carrollton business owners, shielding the town from the kind of staff shortages being reported nationwide.

Many employers have reported difficulties filling jobs, even as the pandemic economy that caused many businesses to shut down begins to recede. But that has not been the case locally, especially in the hospitality industry.

Tim Deptula, manager of the Corner Cafe, said Monday during a busy lunch period that he has not encountered any staffing issues.

“All I have to do when I need help is place a notice on Facebook and by the end of the day, I have 10 or more folks contacting me about a job,” he said.

Other managers at several other Carrollton restaurants reported much the same.

Finding qualified and willing workers in a completely different business sector has also not been a problem. At the construction site of West Georgia Technical College’s new campus, Assistant Project Manager Sam Freese of McCarthy Construction Company of Atlanta said Monday that he also had no problems finding the skilled labor he needed.

“We started work on the green field site on August 19, 2020, and the facilities are scheduled to open in February of next year,” the Auburn University engineering graduate said.

“Really, we have had very, very few issues getting the help we needed,” Freese said. “We usually have about 100 workers on site and as we get nearer completion we will probably have up to 120. “

Freese noted that he had hired several craft workers such as carpenters and other specialty tradesmen from the local area.

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that the economy is rebounding faster than almost anyone thought it would after the COVID pandemic had eased, but many companies outside west Georga have been caught flat-footed with the surge in consumer demand.

The AP report also noted that “The workers themselves can now be added to the lists of shortages. Companies are advertising more jobs than they were before the pandemic.”

A government survey showed some workers, feared becoming infected by the virus last year, and so avoided looking for work. On the other hand, some also say the added federal unemployment benefits gave some workers more income than they would have received working their jobs.

However, that will be changing. Less than a week ago on June 10, the Georgia Department of Labor released the following news release:

In accordance with the plan for reemployment and the announcement to no longer participate in the federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) will reinstate many of the eligibility requirements waived during the recent pandemic. The last payable week for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) is week ending June 26, 2021, reinstating additional requirements on June 27 for claimants and employers.”

The GDOL has paid over $22 billion in state and federal benefits in the past 63 weeks. Last week, the agency issued almost $154 million in benefits, which included regular unemployment and federally funded Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and State Extended Benefits.

Also last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 22,240, down 2,382 over the previous week. Initial claims are defined as any notice of unemployment filed to request a determination of entitlement to or eligibility of unemployment insurance compensation OR to begin a second or subsequent period of eligibility within a benefit year.

Initial claims numbers are not a direct correlation to layoffs. Additionally, the agency currently has 177,206 active PUA claims.

Resources for reemployment assistance along with Information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.