Kern’s Economic Recovery: Jobs plentiful but takers few

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Several businesses across town are looking to hire, but finding people to fill positions has presented a new challenge.

At the Carl’s Jr. on Rosedale Hwy west of Hwy 99, a “now hiring” sign was seen on the front window Monday, and across the street at the Black Angus Steakhouse, an even larger sign was posted with the same message. In downtown Bakersfield, the Taco Bell on 24th Street has a hiring sign on the front door, one of 105 openings at Taco Bell locations across the greater Bakersfield area, per the restaurant’s website.

P.K. Zander, director of Business Development at local staffing company Mid Cal Labor Solutions Inc, said it’s a good thing businesses are hiring during this economic recovery, but added government unemployment benefits and stimulus checks are encouraging unemployed people to stay home instead of looking for work.

“All of our clients are looking for people again. That’s a good sign of the times,” he said. “Bad news is — it’s very difficult to find employees right now. Employees have becomes so accustomed to receiving stimulus checks, that they have more comfortable sitting at home than going back to work,” Zander continued.

Before taxes, worker earning $15 an hour makes $600 per week. An estimate from the CA Employment Development Department suggests that same person could earn $277 per week in state unemployment benefits. After calculating the $300 federal unemployment benefit to the state unemployment benefit, the unemployed individual would receive nearly what he or she would have earned at work.

Zander said that, plus government stimulus payments, have led to a real issue for Kern employers. His advice for potential employees:

“If there’s an opportunity for you to go back and make a decent wage you should take that opportunity,” said Zander. “Don’t take advantage of a situation that’s being fueled by a pandemic. We’ve got to get people back to working.”

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