Michigan Companies Can't Find Seasonal Help
Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 14.1 percent in March, and the ranks of the state’s unemployed total more than 682,000. The last time the March jobless rate in Michigan was that high was 27 years ago in 1983, when it reached 16.1 percent.
So you would think it would be easy to hire seasonal workers in Michigan for industries like landscaping, right? Well, you would be wrong this year, because unemployed Michiganders are getting unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks due to all of the federal jobless benefits extensions, and those benefits are creating disincentives for some of the unemployed to go back to work. Here’s the way the math works:
Landscape workers can earn about $12 per hour in Michigan and would make $480 per week before taxes working full-time, or about $350 per week after taxes. In addition, full-time landscape workers would face transportation costs and other work-related expenses. But collecting unemployment benefits and working zero hours per week, many of those unemployed workers can receive $255 per week tax-free for almost two years, which is only $95 less per week than if they worked full-time. For some workers who are getting the maximum of $387 per week in jobless benefits, they can receive even more from collecting benefits than they would get paid going back to work full-time.
So in the state with the highest jobless rate in the country, landscaping companies in Michigan are actually finding it difficult to hire seasonal workers this year, partly because of “the most generous safety net we’ve ever offered nationally,” according to Michigan economist David Littmann. Read more about it here in today’s Detroit News.
Cross-posted at the Enterprise Blog.