Louisiana’s workforce is climbing during Phase 2, despite some people not returning to work

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – “Today is the first day to be back.”

Totsie Roberts said, she’s excited to be back working at gym-fit after being away for months.

“It feels fabulous, it feels wonderful to be able to see all of these people I have been seeing for years” said Roberts.

With Phase two now in full swing, businesses are able to welcome in 50% of their total occupancy, meaning they can also bring more employees back to work.

“I put the call out to our staff and within a week everyone responded and say we are coming back” said Joshua Roberts, owner of Gym-Fit in Baton Rouge.

“We were able to start bringing employees back even during the quarantine because of the to-go business we were doing so strong and then we pulled majority of our staff back in the last few weeks.”

Jim Urdiales owns mestizo restaurant. He said, his business is thriving but, in the restaurant industry, he’s seeing a trend.

“I can speak for a lot of restaurateurs who can tell you that, we’re all a little short staffed at the moment because a lot of the staff did not want to come back to maximize their unemployment benefits” said Urdiales.

Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary, Ava Dejoie said, despite some people maximizing their benefits, unemployment numbers are down in Louisiana.

“We are seeing a downward trend, thankfully, in weekly claims filing and certification of new claims.”

Dejoie adds that it’s still not clear when Louisiana may return to numbers as low as they were before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A lot remains to be seen.”

Sitting near the door inside Gym-Fit wrapping up her first day back at work. Roberts said she’s looking forward to the challenge of getting back up to speed.

“Oh I don’t know but it’s going to be more fun.”

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