5/3/2021 6:27:00 AM Jobs, Jobs,Jobs Lincoln County's unemployment rate is 9th lowest in NC
Domino's is just one of the new restaurants either now open or preparing to open in Stanley. Cam Finley and Allen Finley will open Village Inn Pizza in Lincolnton this August. New restaurants aren't the only new businesses coming. Meanwhile, the biggest problem for most right now is filling available jobs.
Wayne Howard Reporter
Several area restaurants have cut back on their operating hours because they don't have and can't find enough people to work to maintain them. Several have now started being closed on Sunday because of the shortage of personnel.
One of what we called "Unintended Consequences" in a recent editorial is that with extra unemployment benefits approved by Congress and the $1400 (or more) stimulus money, many are showing little interest in available jobs. That's certainly the case with some of the lower paying jobs, like those in fast food restaurants, but it's also true for higher paying jobs. Even industries offering better than average pay and benefits are finding it difficult to recruit new employees.
Lincoln County's unemployment rate for March, according to information released last week by the NC Dept. of Commerce, was just 3.9%--the 9th lowest of any county in the state. OTher area counties are also flush with available jobs and having trouble filling them. Catawba County's unemployment rate was 4.5%, Gaston County's was 5.0%, and Cleveland County's 5.1%.
For the last couple of years, the worst unemployment rate in NC has been in Scotland County (Laurinburg) and even there, the rate was 8.9%. Statewide, the rate in March was 4.6%.
What makes it even more difficult for those who have jobs to fill is that the available jobs are increasing. New restaurants are coming. Zhay's, which closed during the worst days of the pandemic at its former location off N. Aspen Street, is planning to open in the former Graffiti's location on the north Courtsquare in mid-May. Village Inn Pizza has broken ground and is building in what was once the Harris Teeter parking lot at the corner of E. Main Street and Lithia Inn Road. Burger King is planning to open later this year in Boger City. Work is continuing on Local Roots on the corner of E. Water Street and the Courtsquare.
The flux of new restaurants isn't just in Lincolnton. In Stanley, Domino's Pizza just opened in a former bank on S. Main Street. Another pizza restaurant, serving brick-fired pizza, is in the process of readying a former dance studio location on the other side of the road. Another restaurant, possibly serving Mexican food, is planning to open in a former doctor's office location near the police station. Stanley, like Lincolnton and most other area towns, is also seeing other new businesses. Work has begun where a used car lot formerly operated for a new convenience store at the corner across from CVS. In Dallas, Sammy's Pub opened just a few months ago.
So what's the answer? Only time--in all likelihood. As the extra stimulus bucks get spent and the extra unemployement money expires, businesses and industries are hoping more people will be looking for work. Until then, if you're looking for a job, there are plenty available.
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