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Unemployment is set to run out while businesses are still struggling

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BATON ROUGE - As federal unemployment benefits are set to end at the end of this month, many businesses are still struggling to get fully staffed.

Off Perkins Road tucked by Uncle Earl's is Counter Space BR, a bakery that sells everything you need to appease that sweet tooth.

"It's interesting, the first part of pandemic our business boomed and I say that knowing the struggles other small businesses dealt with," said Counter Space owner Sarah Joy.

For them, the sales are continuing to rush in even with the rise in Covid cases, but employees aren't.

"Our biggest thing is trying to stay staffed so we can continue to serve our customers the quality and the consistency they come to know," said Joy.

Joy could hire about three employees right now and three more during the holidays. Her staffing shortages have become such an issue that some days she's had to close her doors.

"In the past few weeks, we've had to adjust hours, closed early a couple of days which nailed us a bad review on Google," said Joy.

Also limiting her ability to expand her business.

"We service a bunch of coffee shops in the area and we really want to expand into croissants, bread and other kinda pastry-type things. All to grow our menu and reputation, but we can't do that without a full staff," said Joy.

Saying she thinks hiring is tough right now for a few reasons.

"I think there's a combination of unwillingness to step back into what might be murky or hard or folks have found side gigs they love. I'm sure the unemployment situation as far as benefit goes probably adds to it," said Joy.

Federal unemployment is set to end in Louisiana in the next two days. Joy believing it's a toss-up whether or not they'll see the difference.

"They'll probably be a large part of the workforce that does choose to start looking for jobs again, I also mentioned again the food industry doesn't have the best reputation," said Joy.

No matter what happens Joy will continue to do everything thing she can to serve up those sugary treats and search for the hands to help do it.

"I don't require crazy hours and pay well above minimum wage, I provide meals days off, anything I can to make working here pleasant," said Joy.

Though federal unemployment benefits are ending 5 weeks early. Louisiana lawmakers raised state unemployment benefits by $28 a week, starting in six months.

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