Texas Small Business Owners Tell Gov. Abbott Labor Shortage Is Hurting Them

Texas Governor Greg Abbott met with 12 Texas small business owners on Friday and heard a common theme: They need more workers to be successful.

The roundtable was held at the Dallas Farmers Market as part of National Small Business Week. The business owners were all members of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices community, which advocates important policies for members.

“We focus on workers because we know you need employees to run your business,” Abbott told them.

While 73% of US small businesses are currently hiring, 87% of those who are hiring are struggling to fill those positions with skilled workers, according to a survey this month by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices.

Governor Greg Abbott (left) visits American Butchers with co-owners Desiree Wineland (center) and Calvin Wineland (right) at the Dallas Farmers Market on Friday.(Elias Valverde II / Personal photographer)

Hyacinth Belcher runs Dallas’ live events company Onstage Systems and had to let 80% of its staff leave overnight. His business lost 70% of its revenue for 18 months due to the pandemic. For three months last year, he had no income.

“We have lost millions,” she said. “A lot of people have left the industry.”

A second-generation family business, Onstage used her savings to survive in 2020. She also received two forgivable loans and a low-interest loan from the US Small Business Administration.

Now, business is picking up. In late April, he worked at the Ubbi Dubbi electronic dance music festival, which was dubbed the first festival after the pandemic caused most events to be canceled in 2020.

But Belcher said she didn’t have enough staff to handle the increase in demands. Before the pandemic, it had 50 full-time employees. Today, it has 25 full-time employees and is struggling to find more.

“Between 45% and 50% of the Texas workforce works for small businesses, so if we fail, the state’s economy fails,” she said.

Belcher suggested that Abbott and the state work hard to help business owners provide child care for employees to help them return to work. The Goldman Sachs survey showed that 44% of small business owners believe that a return of children to distance learning would make it difficult to retain employees.

Hyacinth Belcher, right, supervises his employees as they set up a stage for an event at Crest Cadillac in Frisco, Texas on May 1, 2021. (Jason Janik / Special Contributor)
Hyacinth Belcher, right, supervises his employees as they set up a stage for an event at Crest Cadillac in Frisco, Texas on May 1, 2021. (Jason Janik / Special Contributor)(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

Brandi Harleaux, who runs the South Post Oak Recyling Center metal recycling company in Houston, said revenues are higher now than before the pandemic because they are part of the manufacturing supply chain which is in strong demand. demand.

But hiring remains a challenge, she said.

The company, which has 28 employees, has five open positions. About 30% of the interviews are no-shows, she said.

“Unemployed workers must be held accountable,” she said.

A box on unemployment benefit claims that would require a business owner to check off that he or she showed up for the interview could be a solution, she said. And reducing unemployment benefits should be a priority, she said.

Nearly 760,000 Texans were unemployed in August, according to new data released by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Governor Greg Abbott listens to small business owners describe how a labor shortage is limiting their recovery.
Governor Greg Abbott listens to small business owners describe how a labor shortage is limiting their recovery.(Elias Valverde II / Personal photographer)


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