$600 Weekly Federal Unemployment Bonus Sidelines Needed Workers

One of my favorite clients is asking me to urge lawmakers not to extend the $600 weekly federal unemployment bonus. 

This company works in critical infrastructure (municipal water wells) and thank God has not yet experienced a shortage of business due to COVID-19. However, they are experiencing workforce shortages because workers can make more money drawing unemployment than working.

Quoting my client:

“We are having difficulties staffing because of backwards legislation that de-incentivizes work through the $600 pandemic unemployment weekly bonus. Our local Workforce Solutions contact says its because of the bonus! Why would the average hourly worker want to work when they can make double the “living wage” by sitting at home? That’s a no brainer in this Texas heat.

We are seeing a small influx of resumes now that the bonus is scheduled to end, but we are asking our legislators to stand against this harmful legislation in the futureThe fact is, government-sponsored wage competition has to end. We are a free world, and we need free markets instead of slipping into this socialist mindset.”  

Prior to the onset of COVID, this contractor employed about 200 people. Their employment roll grew by 48% over the past 4 years and they projected to add another 25 jobs this year.  They have now shrunk to 170 employees without laying off or furloughing a single person. They have a labor shortage despite millions of dollars of work they have committed to perform. They are diligently trying to fill 30 open positions right now!

One would think there is an abundance of prime candidates for their open positions. More than 26,300 people were laid off by the Texas oil and gas industry. While water well hydraulics differs from the oil industry, they use equipment from the oil field. The skillset is very similar.

COVID forced approximately 10% of their workforce to stay at home because of positive tests and exposures waiting for test results. OSHA regulations require employers to provide a safe work environment during the pandemic. Following Governor Abbott’s mask order in 100°+ Texas heat is impractical and inhuman.

Folks, my water well client is not alone.   

Contractors all over the country are obligated to staff up in order to fulfill their obligations. Please tell every elected official you know to use common sense. Please, no more government competition.

It’s pretty simple. If you don’t believe increasing unemployment benefits disincentivizes work, just look at Massachusetts. They have the most lucrative unemployment benefits of any state, with a ceiling of $1,220 a week plus $600 in federal benefits. To no surprise, they also had the highest unemployment rate of any state in June at 17.4 percent. Texas’ June unemployment rate was 8.6 percent.

It’s time for everyone who is healthy to get back to work!

Please join us in contacting your lawmakers and asking them not to extend the $600 weekly federal unemployment bonus.

 God bless America!

 

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