Finley: Fat jobless checks a disincentive to work
Some Michigan employers say the enriched jobless benefits included in Congress' $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package may actually slow the state's recovery from the massive job losses caused by the pandemic.
Employers who are still hiring say they can't compete with the state and federal checks that in Michigan will total up to $963 a week. They also report some workers are asking to be laid off because the unemployment benefits greatly exceed their regular pay.
"It’s a disincentive for those making under $24 an hour to go to work," says Ronald Beebe, owner of Awrey Bakery in Livonia.
He's trying to hire 35 workers to staff new product lines at the bakery, and despite the wave of layoffs locally has been able to attract only five qualified applicants for positions that pay $12 to $15 an hour and health insurance.
"People are very scared of catching COVID-19," says Beebe, who also can’t find workers for a new plant making face masks in Midland. "They prefer to stay home and make $24 hour and feel safer."
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Arny Rodriguez, who runs a medical and technical staffing firm in the west Michigan city of Wayland, needs a hi-lo driver for a client, and offered $16 an hour to a prospect. He was surprised when he was turned down.
But when he started being rebuffed for jobs in the $20 to $22 an hour range, he realized filling positions would be tough for awhile ...
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