OXFORD, Miss -- ​​​​Employers and employees alike are exhausted and overworked as employment rates appear to lag a year and a half into the pandemic.

With full capacity football games, tailgating and in person classes back on campus this semester, restaurants and stores across Oxford have been in dire need of employees. 

Since the pandemic has started, employment rates in Oxford have been at an all time low.

“We’ve lost managers, we have struggled to keep people with us because they just got worn out as a result of the shortage we’ve had in employees. People have had to work more shifts than usual,” Big Bad Breakfast owner John Currence said. 

Many local business owners have been struggling to find profit amidst these employment issues.

“If I don’t work the hours I work, I don’t make money and basically right now I’m not making money. I’m having to raise wages, food costs are higher, I’m working 70 hours a week” Bim Bam owner Erica Barragan said. “As business owners we are burned out”. 

Not only does being understaffed put a strain on business owners, it is also affecting employees within the businesses.

“Due to the understaffing of businesses and restaurants, it affects us daily because of places not opening due to them having to change their hours. So it's hard to get everyone's service completed at a specific time,” John, a local UPS driver, said. 

To try and fix employment rates, many businesses have started to offer benefits to workers. These benefits include flexible hours, on spot interviews and weekly or daily pay to try and get people on the job. 

Oxford business owners are still staying hopeful that these problems will be fixed soon and employment across businesses in town will go back to normal.

This story was first reported by NewsWatch Correspondent Annabelle Kinney.

Employment Rates At A Low in Oxford Amidst The Pandemic