It looks like something to celebrate: small businesses posting “Help Wanted” signs as the economy edges toward normalcy. Instead, businesses are having trouble filling the jobs, which in turn hurts their ability to keep up with demand for their products or services.

Owners say that some would-be workers are worried about catching COVID-19 or prefer to live off unemployment benefits that are significantly higher amid the pandemic. Child care is another issue — parents aren’t able to work when they need to tend to or home-school their children. For some people, a combination of factors go into their decision not to seek work.

When Steve Klatt and Brandon Lapp set up interviews for their restaurant and food truck business, they’re lucky if one out of 10 or 15 applicants comes in.

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