Alabama is open for business, but Biden administration policies are keeping jobs unfilled
Alabama is currently in position to spring forward after the COVID-19 pandemic, however actions taken by the federal government are presenting new hurdles to overcome on the path to full recovery.
The Yellowhammer State currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast and one of the lowest in the entire country; Alabama businesses are actively looking to hire, with good jobs available across a wide array of sectors.
While certain industries always have to contend with skills gaps and related workforce considerations that can leave vacancies unfilled longer than is ideal, service sectors are especially feeling the squeeze right now due to not being able to fill existing job openings.
The problem has been well documented in media reports, by elected officials and by stakeholders; you can also drive around just about any town in Alabama and see the posted signs at restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality arena. These businesses, many of them locally owned and/or operated, simply cannot find enough people willing to work to operate their establishments in a normal fashion. Some businesses are having to limit hours of operations due to staffing shortages, as well as service potentially suffering during open hours due to overburdened shifts. Either way, business owners, employees and customers are losing out.
Many have pointed to the extra $300 in weekly unemployment benefits that President Joe Biden’s administration is paying Americans to stay at home instead of working. This is persisting even with low numbers of COVID cases and hospitalizations in states like Alabama, as well as vaccines being available to all adults.
If Friday’s dismal nationwide jobs reports is any indication, the Biden administration has effectively disincentivized employment. This is not only leading to labor shortages, but also hurting the recovery of the American economy — especially some of the very sectors that were most negatively affected by the pandemic.
“The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” stated U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley. “We need a comprehensive approach to dealing with our workforce issues and the very real threat unfilled positions poses to our economic recovery from the pandemic. One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working.”
Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) agrees with the call to end the $300 supplemental unemployment benefits.
“This is a scary time for our country, as the Biden administration and Washington Democrats incentivize people to stay home and collect a government check over seeking good paying jobs,” said Rogers. “Employers in the Third District have job openings and simply can’t find people willing to fill them.”
“I know folks across East Alabama take pride in a hard day’s work and would rather earn a living than sit back and collect a free check,” he added. “What liberal Democrats are seeking to do is increase government dependence through government handouts — this is how socialism starts and it’s not who we are as a country.”
To battle the ongoing labor challenges, Alabama employers are urged to report when they have extended offers of employment to unemployed individuals who refuse work. All Alabamians are also encouraged to report potential cases of unemployment fraud.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn