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Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card highlights "Lack of available workforce" small business dilemma

Grove coming soon door sign
Clark Communications

Michigan’s economy is unevenly recovering from the pandemic with small businesses hardest hit. Those are the findings in a recently released economic report.

In March 2020, Grove, a critically acclaimed Grand Rapids restaurant, closed its doors due to pandemic restrictions. Now, with the distribution of vaccines and the lifting of restrictions, Grove will reopen this fall. Before then, a hurdle to clear.

“We don’t have enough humans that want to work. That can work. That are willing to work to turn on this economy.”

James Berg is Essence Restaurant Group’s managing partner. He tells us the National Restaurant Association estimates the industry has lost 31% of its workforce since the pandemic began.

The Small Business Association of Michigan and Michigan Celebrates Small Business released its 17th Annual Entrepreneurship Score Card spotlighting a “Lack of available workforce has emerged as a critical obstacle to the recovery of small businesses.” It also points to supplemental unemployment payments and increasing costs as challenges.

James is taking a patient approach. He recognizes the pandemic allowed people to reconsider careers. But bottom line, people need money and they’ll eventually return to the workforce

“I think we’ll see a little bit more in August and definitely more in September in our industry and just in general. What’s maybe one good thing is for you, as an employee, future employee, is you’re going to get paid more and I think that’s a good thing.”

Based on past Michigan recession recoveries, the score card anticipates an abrupt turnaround over the next two years.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.