By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – July 24, 2021

At the present time there is a surplus of jobs in Del Norte County.  The
question then becomes why is there anyone in the County that can not
find a job?  Why is the unemployment rate 7.95% in June of 2021, 1,000
job openings, and there remains 750 people looking for work?  None of
the employment related bureaucracies seemed to have the answer.  Help
wanted signs abound in many local businesses, so what is the problem? 
Granted, treating and paying employees well is a good way to retain
those you currently have, but raising prices to make that happen will
only get you so far.  With inflation trending upwards at an ever rapid
rate, raising prices may not coordinate with happy employees as they
themselves feel the sting of increasing prices in their everyday world.

One would think that people who deal with employment on a regular basis
would also be armed with the answers to why there are more jobs
available than workers to fill the positions.  Clearly that is not the
case, at least locally.  Higher minimum wages, experienced here in
California an other states would likely depress the ability of employers
to reach out for more workers. Paying workers more money to retain them
can only occur when the business is doing well enough to allow for the
increase.  In fairness businesses have increased their sales with the
relaxing of restrictions caused by the Pandemic, yet work participation
is at the lowest level for many decades, so why the reluctance of people
to go back to work?

Speaking with a former employee who was laid off in April of 2020 and
still remains jobless, she admitted that current conditions make her
unwilling to return to work without losing nearly $800 in income by
returning to her former job.  Combinations of unemployment, rent relief,
and unemployment subsidies have pushed her monthly income to exceed that
she had previously made full time.  This has made it difficult to
justify returning to her old job and looking for any new work.  She
candidly went on to admit several of her friends find themselves in a
similar state.  Why work, when money to remain unemployed has become so
freely available?  A strong incentive not to work and leave many jobs
unfilled.

This experience not only affects those working in entry level positions,
but appears to have the same effect on many more technical and demanding
jobs that also are experiencing labor shortages.  With the
“emergencyness” of the pandemic beginning to unravel, and most folks
wanting to just get on with their lives, perhaps it is time for local,
State, and Federal governments to get out of the “Pandemic Relief
Business”.  The unintended consequences of the nanny state appear to be
a large part of why people are not going back to work.  While it appears
to be a great mystery for those that should know better, no one can
fault those that sit at home, bills taken care of by government
extravagance, without the headache of going to work.   

Mystery solved?

One thought on “The Great Employment Mystery.”

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