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Local and national news have headlined the proclamation that employers can’t fill jobs because benefits are way generous.

I noted that they talked to business owners and managers but did not interview prospective employees about why they were not applying for jobs. I’m no investigative reporter, but I was able to interview several people and came up with some very different answers.

Unemployed persons try to find a good job before accepting a low-paying, no-benefits job. The moment they accept a job, all unemployment benefits are lost. They try to maximize the time to pursue permanent good-paying jobs. I heard this from someone who has only been offered positions that were lower-paying and a step down from her previous management post.

Many jobs were previously attractive to part-time employees who did not need to work. They have no desire to expose themselves unnecessarily to COVID-19 or deal with a public that refuses to mask up. I recently spoke to a retiree who worked to have something to do but quit a 30-hour-a-week job because the company was too lax about COVID restrictions.

Remember all those border restrictions? Many employers won’t say it but they are suffering from a lack of foreign workers. These workers don’t just bring in crops; they are also busboys and maids and have other menial jobs.

I have heard this song and dance before the pandemic: “No one wants to work.” It’s been used as an excuse for shipping jobs overseas, for hiring undocumented workers and is now the latest push for not giving people an unemployment check. Conservatives seem to be at their best when they are lining up a firing squad to go after the working poor while protecting the vested interests of the affluent.

Shelia Hauser


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