Texas workforce returns to work

What was supposed to be a short break and few days at home from work turned into months at home. In a blink of an eye, everyone’s lives in 2020 were drastically put on pause; no one was going out, and everyone’s consumption patterns changed. Many opted out from going to restaurants or bars (face-to-face businesses) to instead having Amazon Prime deliver their everyday needs. 2020 will be remembered as the year that swept our nation with unemployment and layoffs. Texas hit a record high of 12.9% unemployment rate back in April 2020 due to the response of the COVID-19 pandemic. [1] Many face-to-face businesses such as restaurants, bars, hotels, airlines,[2] oil & gas, among others, struggled to attract customers and keep their doors open.

Fast-forwarding to today (more than a year later), the Texas economy is opening back up, employment is back on the rise. Recently, the Texas unemployment rate dropped to 6.5% in May 2021. [1] However, employers in specific sectors are still struggling to attract and retain talent even though there are more job openings in the U.S. today than before the pandemic. Today, millions of adults can’t or won’t go back to work. [3] So, there is a labor shortfall among many of the industries mentioned.

As an employer, if you are experiencing similar challenges, you must ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How do you attract the right talent if the original workforce doesn’t want to return to work?
  2. How do you retain and motivate your current workforce in this new normal?

1. How do you attract the right talent if the original workforce doesn’t want to return to work?

There are many ways you can attract new talent. Most companies are revisiting their current employee offerings, such as benefits and perks, to see what else they can do to attract the right talent.  Below is a shortlist of things you could revisit or implement if you haven’t yet. Understanding that many businesses are financially conscious of their spending due to the economic downturn is worth noting; some options are more cost-effective than others, so keep this in mind as you rethink your employee offerings.

  • Unique perks & benefits such as Earned Wage Access
  • Increase wages
  • Traditional Benefits (PTO, 401(k), Health)
  • Sign-on Bonuses or Gifts
McDonald's is trying something different to attract workers

2. How do you retain and motivate your current workforce throughout this new normal?

By providing any new employee benefits or perks, you send a signal to your workforce that you care about them. Now, if you offer benefits or perks that improve their financial health, such as Earned Wage Access (EWA), you will address a big pain point in most employees' minds. The 2021 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that after a year of COVID-19 disruption within people's lives, finances are the top cause of employee stress. In addition, 63% of Full-Time employees say that their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic, [5] which is sensible since many employee households experienced a decrease in household income last year.

So what is Earned Wage Access?

Earned Wage Access allows your employees to access their wages before payday and avoid taking on high-interest debt when faced with an unexpected expense. The PwC survey also found that employees whose financial stress had increased due to the pandemic were twice as likely to use a payday loan. [5] Texas has the highest payday loan rates in the U.S. (the avg. APR is 664%).

Providing an employee benefit such as Earned Wage Access will help retain, attract, and motivate your workforce and help alleviate stress by giving employees resources to reach financial stability. In addition, Earned Wage Access is a cost-effective option for employers if they partner with the right provider.

Pronto Pay's service is free to the employer because we believe we need to do good by enabling financial health. This benefit allows your employees to gain access to their wages as they are earned.

If you are an employer that doesn't offer Earned Wage Access as a benefit, we would love to hear from you! We are actively spreading the word of this benefit and onboarding new businesses across the state of Texas.

Email us at contact@prontoservices.io to learn more about Earned Wage Access or request a demo of our product.


[1] M. F. A. M. C. ANNA NOVAK, "How coronavirus impacted the Texas economy," 25 June 2021. [Online].

[2] S. Ali, "Face-to-face Texas industries the hardest hit during COVID-19 pandemic," CBS Austin, 28 January 2021. [Online]. Available: https://cbsaustin.com/news/local/face-to-face-texas-industries-the-hardest-hit-during-covid-19-pandemic.

[3] E. Morath, "Millions Are Unemployed. Why Can’t Companies Find Workers?," The Wall Street Journal, 6 May 2021. [Online].

[4] C. O'kane, "One Illinois McDonal's is trying something different to attract workers: offering them a new iPhone," CBS News, 26 May 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mcdonalds-iphone-hire-illinois/.

[5] PWC, "2021 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey," PWC, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/workforce-of-the-future/library/employee-financial-wellness-survey.html.