GO
Loading...

Landry's CEO: Unemployment Benefits Hurt Main Street Hiring

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 | 3:59 PM ET
A Consumer Reality Check With Landry's CEO
Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 | 11:50 AM ET
Tilman Fertitta, Landry's Inc. chairman & CEO, discusses employment, minimum wage, and why he took his company private.

Bump into small-business owners and ask them about hurdles to hiring and job creation on Main Street. An answer that comes up is—extended unemployment benefits.

"You still have a segment of the population, as long as the unemployment benefits continue, why is somebody going to go out and get a job?" said Tilman Fertitta, chairman and chief executive of privately held Landry's. The dining and hospitality group spans 500 outlets and popular brands such as Landry's Seafood House, Chart House, Bubba Gump Shrimp, Claim Jumper, Morton's The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick's and Rainforest Cafe.

(Read more: Subway 'Wouldn't Exist' If Started Today Due to Regulations: Founder)

With extended unemployment benefits, many smaller employers find it challenging to fill jobs, when candidates can make more money not working.

"And they keep extending them, and extending them and extending them as a stimulus, but at the same point, when you reach a certain point of wage, I'm better off staying at home and not worrying about going to work," Fertitta said Wednesday on CNBC. "At some point we've got to stop the continuation of the unemployment."

(Read more: Little Main St. Hiring, Despite Uptick in Optimism)

And what about the proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 from the current $7.25 per hour? Would that help Main Street lure more workers off the unemployment lines?

"Sure. But at the same time, if they do some of the crazy things they're talking about doing with minimum wage, we're going to all be laying people off and you're going to see unemployment at 12 percent," Fertitta said. Landry's has roughly 50,000 employees in 34 states and 33 international locations.

(Read more: Made in the USA: More Consumers Buying American)

By CNBC's Heesun Wee; Follow her on Twitter @heesunwee

Featured

Contact Small Business

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More